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Desert Rain Frog: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

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Desert Rain Frog

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The desert rain frog is a particular species that is found in the desert sands of South Africa and Namibia. Typically surfacing at night, the desert rain frog is known to be a burrowing animal that, much like other species of frogs, feeds on different types of insects. A fascinating aspect of the desert rain frog, however, remains its transparent and osmotic abdominal region. Its population, having experienced a shrinkage in the past few years owing to a widespread loss of habitat, remains buried on the dunes and shores of these African territories, and when it does surface, any humans are treated to an image of one of the cutest amphibians in the world.

As per IUCN, their conservation status at present is vulnerable, hence concerted efforts for ensuring the conservation of this species is extremely important. Here are some of the most interesting facts about the cutest African amphibian that spends its day in a burrow. Afterward, do make it a point to check out our other articles on African clawed frog and poison frog as well.

Desert Rain Frog Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a desert rain frog?

The desert rain frogs, or Breviceps macrops, are classified as frogs belonging to the Brevicipitidae family. Besides their scientific designation, these amphibians are also known by some common appellations, such as  Boulenger's short-headed frog or web-footed rain frog. In terms of appearance, this amphibian has been endowed with bulging eyes, webbed toes, spade-like feet, and a short snout.

What class of animal does a desert rain frog belong to?

This frog belongs to the class amphibia, that is, organisms that possess characteristic smooth and slimy skin, a vertebral column, complex life cycles, including the larval and adult stages. The class is named amphibian over the organism's ability to live in water as well as terrestrial habitats.

How many desert rain frogs are there in the world?

There are no specific details about the exact population of the desert rain frog. Dating back to years of its discovery (around the 1970s), the number of these amphibians was quite high. However, after the studies and research made in 2004, a rapid decline in the population of breviceps macrops was observed. Factors such as open cast diamond mining and human settlement, leading to habitat loss of these frogs, has contributed majorly to their declining population.

Where does a desert rain frog live?

A desert rain frog lives in the sands of the desert that are humid due to the existence of water and humidity not very far away.

What is a desert rain frog's habitat?

A desert rain frog habitat is the wet sands near coastal regions which remain humid and foggy due to the presence of a water body nearby. Its total range is only about 772 sq miles (2000 sq km). However, these frogs, owing to the fact that they live at a distance from any sort of water bodies and only rely on the humidity of the air and the sand under it, have adapted to the dry and harsh weathers that the deserts subject it to. It experiences no issues living in dry dunes of sand which are recipients of plenty of fog.

Who do desert rain frogs live with?

Desert rain frogs are nocturnal members of the Brevicipitidae family. These frogs occur in clusters called armies, usually formed within the vicinity of their burrowed holes.

How long does a desert rain frog live?

The lifespan of the desert rain frog can be quite prolonged and extend up to as long as 15 years. However, the average lifespan ranges between 4-15 years.

How do they reproduce?

The reproductive cycle of a desert rain frog generally steps in during the late summers. Since these amphibians are nocturnal animals (active during the dark hours), the mating between the species generally takes place during the night hours. The male attracts a potential partner by emitting long elevating calls. Following copulation and fertilization, the female lays about 12-40 eggs in her dug burrows. The young ones of the species are not really dependent on their parents, as they bypass the tadpole stage and directly grow from egg to adult stage.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN Red List, the members of the desert rain frog clan are categorized under the category of vulnerable species. Once accounted as having a stable and substantial population, the number of desert rain frogs from the Brevicipitidae family has rapidly declined over the years largely due to human intervention leading to the habitat loss of these amphibians.

Desert Rain Frog Fun Facts

What do desert rain frogs look like?

Desert Tree Frog

* Please note that this is an image of a desert tree frog, a close relative of the desert rain frog, not a desert rain frog specifically. If you have an image of a desert rain frog please let us know at [email protected]

The desert rain frog’s most characteristic feature has to be its transparent abdominal region from where its entire digestive system is visible along with the blood vessels around it. Apart from that, these frogs' build is quite roundish, like a potato, and is complemented by its oversized and protruding eyeballs. Below their eyeballs rests a tiny, short snout, and its limbs are fairly tiny with feet that are shaped like spades and have webs between its toes to facilitate the digging process. Because the desert rain frog has tiny limbs, it does not, unlike other frogs, jump in order to move about. Instead, the desert rain frog simply walks to where it wishes to get. In order to blend with the color of the sand, it is naturally colored in hues of yellow and brown.

How cute are they?

On a scale of one to five, owing to its small rounded frame and vibrant coloring, the members of the desert rain frog species can easily secure a four or a five for its cuteness. To put it simply, these amphibians are an adorable sight to behold.

How do they communicate?

Most frogs croak and squeak in order to communicate with one another. However, the desert rain frog prefers to squeak a loud and toy-like cry that is quite high-pitched. This species of frog typically only squeaks when threatened by a predator or something else.

How big is a desert rain frog?

The average length of the desert rain frog ranges between 2-2.5 in (5.08 - 6.3 cm).  The size of these tiny potato-shaped amphibians is about the size of a tennis ball.

How fast can a desert rain frog swim?

There are no exact details about the swimming speed of the desert rain frog in a strip of sandy shores or sea and the sand. However, they are observed to be average swimmers, and in fact, are known to survive even without the presence of water bodies in their habitat.

How much does a desert rain frog weigh?

The average weight of a desert rain frog is about 0.4oz (0.011 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

No specific designation has been assigned to the members of the Breviceps macrops species based on their sex. They are simply referred to by their generic species name, desert rain frogs. Males are known as male desert rain frogs while females are referred to as female desert rain frogs.

What would you call a baby desert rain frog?

Unlike the common reproductive cycles of the frog family that includes a tadpole stage, the members of the desert rain frog species mature directly to adulthood, passing over the tadpole stage. The young ones of these frogs are generally referred to as young frog, juvenile, or offspring.

What do they eat?

Desert rain frogs are insectivorous organisms; that is, these frogs' diet includes insects for their survival. The diet of Breviceps macrops includes small insects such as beetles, larvae of insects, etc.

Are they dangerous?

No, the desert rain frog is not a dangerous frog to humans, or any animal in fact, except the insects on which it feeds.

Would they make a good pet?

The desert rain frog babies can be a good pet in the sense that all you would have to do for it is provide it food and a controlled environment of arid and slightly humid conditions with enough space for it to burrow per its desire. However, since frogs, in general, do not develop affection toward humans ever, the desert rain frog too will never really bond with you even if you keep it as your pet. Over time, the only difference in behavior you will be able to notice will be its calmness when you feed it since, over time, the frog will associate your presence with the availability of food.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

Besides their adorable stout structure, the members of the desert rain frog species possess fascinating anatomically designed transparent body proportions. Such a framework, in fact, provides a visual introspect of their internal organs.

What sound does a desert rain frog make?

The desert rain frog’s characteristic sound is its high-pitched and bellowing squeak that resembles the sound of a children’s squeaky toy. This species of frog only ever uses this sound to communicate some form of danger or threat to itself.

Why is the desert rain frog endangered?

In the late 20th century, around 1977, the desert rain frog was a species that was abundant in number in its natural habitat in the sands and dunes of the African continent. However, due to the invasion of their natural habitat by humans for their urbanization projects and general expansion of living areas, these frogs lost their homes and with it, many of their lives. Today, the desert rain frog is somewhat concentrated in the unadulterated natural environment of Port Nolloth’s coastal sand dunes in South Africa.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other frogs including tree frog facts, or olm facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Desert Rain Frog coloring pages.

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