Fun Malagasy Rainbow Frog Facts For Kidstree frog

Moumita Dutta
Nov 17, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 15, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Malagasy rainbow frog facts are all about their habitats, location, and unique appearance characteristics.

The rainbow frog, whose scientific name is Scaphiophryne gottlebei is a fossorial creature that lives underground but is skilled to climb walls and rock. It lives within the humid canyons and rocky dry forests along the Isalo Massif found in the Isalo National Park, which is located in southern Madagascar.

These colorful amphibians grow only 1.5 in (4 cm) in length, and females are slightly larger than the males. The Gottlebe's narrow-mouthed frog is a highly fascinating and decorated species of frog belonging to the Microhylidae family.

Unfortunately, its beauty is the reason for its endangered status as thousands of rainbow burrowing frogs are captured every year for the pets trade. This tradition has now become illegal, which is a great step to regain the population of these frogs in the Isalo Massif. Their conservation by IUCN has become a national cause of concern.

If you want to know more about the conservation, feeding habits, habitat of the Malagasy rainbow frog, keep on reading. For more relatable content, read about leopard frog and red-eyed tree frog.

Malagasy Rainbow Frog Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Malagasy rainbow frog?

Unlike rainbow tree frogs which are not real species, the Malagasy rainbow frog (Scaphiophryne gottlebei) is a type of frog belonging to the family Microhylidae.

What class of animal does a Malagasy rainbow frog belong to?

The Malagasy rainbow frog (Scaphiophryne gottlebei) belongs to the Amphibia class of the Animalia kingdom.

How many Malagasy rainbow frogs are there in the world?

The exact number of these frogs is unknown but the Malagasy rainbow frog is Endangered on the IUCN or International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened species.

This means that the entire population of these species is enclosed in a single range of small areas. Their population hence keeps on decreasing due to the rise in habitat degradation and other natural and man-made threats like mining and logging in that range.

Where does a Malagasy rainbow frog live?

This frog is endemic to location and the altitudes in and near the centrally located part of the south of Madagascar, which includes the canyons of the Isalo Massif National Park and the areas around the south of the park.

What is a Malagasy rainbow frog’s habitat?

The red rain frog dwells in humid areas, like the rainforest and deep, shallow ponds, and dry forest. They are also found in rivers or swamps. The Malagasy or the rainbow burrowing frog is huh, dark, wet, and humid weather conditions.

Who do Malagasy rainbow frogs live with?

Malagasy frogs live within their own collection of groups known as 'army.'

How long does a Malagasy rainbow frog live?

Malagasy rainbow frogs have a short lifespan of about two years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

The Malagasy rainbow frog is a known explosive breeder which means that the time span or season of their breeding is quite brief and tends to undertake out of the blue. They breed in the army or their groups in the months of November–December following the rainfall season.

They procreate for three days after the rains! Their breeding season takes place from December to January.

The male frog calls in search of females for reproduction from inside the wild water pools. Malagasy rainbow frog eggs laid by the females are 1000 in number.

These frogs breed in temporary rock pools where their tadpoles grow very fast, within a month or two. Males fertilize the eggs. The froglets mature after one and a half years and are ready to mate.

What is their conservation status?

IUCN or the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List has declared it as Endangered. They are in such a condition as they have been assaulted voraciously for pet trade pertaining to their bright and unique color.

Interesting facts Malagasy Rainbow frog

What do Malagasy rainbow frogs look like?

The Malagasy rainbow frog is little, round, and vibrantly colored species and whose appearance is pleasing to the eyes. It has a round snout with an inconspicuous tympani and prominent eyes. The limbs of these species are short yet strong and white in color. The hand digits consist of large tips and the back feet are webbed.

The horny tubercles are present on the hind feet underside and are shovel-like which helps them in burrowing. The claws present on the fore or front feet help them in climbing and grasping to vertical canyon walls.

The female frog is slightly larger than the male. Their body color is quite attractive and eye-catching. They have a distinctive body color and patterned back with a color range of black, white, grey, red, and green. The skin of the back is smooth while the belly which is grey in color is a bit rough to touch.

*We've been unable to source an image of a Malagasy rainbow frog and have used an image of a leopard frog instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a Malagasy rainbow frog, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How cute are they?

The Malagasy rainbow frogs are one of the most beautiful species of frogs and are decorated with striking colors. Their small size adds to their cuteness and beauty, just like a pool frog.

How do they communicate?

Scaphiophryne gottlebei do not croak as other frogs do but a distinctive mating call by the male species of the frogs has been recorded.

How big is a Malagasy rainbow frog?

The Malagasy rainbow frog is 1.5 in (4 cm) in in length. It is somewhat smaller than an average tree frog.

How fast can a Malagasy rainbow frog move?

The Malagasy rainbow frog species is well versed in climbing and burrowing and can be quite swift in them. Swimming and running are not the special features of these animals of the amphibian class.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no different names given to the males and females of the Malagasy rainbow frog species. Females are slightly bigger than the males which helps them in distinguishing.

What would you call a baby Malagasy rainbow frog?

A baby Malagasy rainbow frog would be known as a froglet. The larval stage of the males and female frogs is known as tadpoles.

What do they eat?

This frog searches for and feeds on a variety of insects like mosquitoes and small invertebrates. The Diet of the tadpole is similar.

Are they poisonous?

No, the Malagasy rainbow frogs are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Because of their striking and colorful experience like a red-eyed tree frog, these frogs have been a popular victim of the pet trade. Their number has decreased exponentially and the Malagasy rainbow frog endangered over the years and due to which it is now illegal to keep these gorgeous animals as pets.

Did you know...

Malagasy rainbow frogs, or the ornate hopper, are great adaptors. They can easily climb in rocky environments and on vertical rocks or surfaces. The proof he was good at climbing in rocky environments, and even on vertical surfaces!

The tadpoles, before they develop as frogs, have their heads immersed inside the sand and sediments during the day. They feed on nutrients inside the ground during this time. These tadpoles emerge outside during the night and swim around and search feed.

How did the Malagasy rainbow frog get its name and what other names does it have?

Scaphiophryne gottlebei or the Malagasy rainbow frogs are inhabitants of Madagascar and hence named so. The word 'Malagasy' is given due to them being a native of Madagascar and the word 'rainbow' is simply given to them due to them being vibrant and colorful.

They are also known as ornate hopper, red rain frog, rainbow burrowing frog, painted burrowing frog, or Gottlebe's narrow-mouthed frog.

Are Malagasy rainbow frogs endangered?

The Malagasy rainbow frog is quite rare and found at the Isalo National Park. It is an active species during the monsoon and wet season (November and December). There are many reasons due to which these species are now exposed to being Endangered.

The major hazard which is life-threatening to these species is the fact that they are hugely exploited for collection for the pet trade. Other threats that they face are habitat degradation, wildfires, climatic changes, wood extraction, and the recent sapphire mining that occurs in the range near its habitat in the Isalo Massif.

These threats are well-acknowledged and attempts are being adapted to eradicate them. The pet trade has now been made illegal and the habitat has been converted into a national park to further save their population.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Pacman frog facts and Colombia spotted frog facts for kids.

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

*We've been unable to source an image of a Malagasy rainbow frog and have used an image of a leopard frog instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a Malagasy rainbow frog, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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