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Squeakers and Cricket Frogs: Arthroleptidae

Common Squeaker (arthroleptis Stenodactylus): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: The common squeaker is sometimes called a dune squeaker or savanna squeaking frog. It is a brown or copper-colored frog with a faded, darker brown pattern on its back that looks something like an hourglass. It has two dark brown spots near the rump and sometimes a thin, lighter-colored stripe running down the middle of the back. It also has dark brown bands on its thin legs. The front legs are quite long compared to the front legs of other frogs, while the rear legs are rather short when compared to many other frogs. It has quite long toes, but no webbing between them. A dark brown line or patch runs from the snout down each side of its face and to its front legs. Its belly is whitish, often with noticeable The common squeaker is sometimes called a dune squeaker or savanna squeaking frog. (Illustration by Wendy Baker. Reproduced by permission.) but small gray blotches. It has a plump body. Its wide head narrows toward the front, and it has two large, bulging eyes. It is also known as the shovel-footed squeaker because it has a large, rough bump, or tubercle, on each of its back feet. This tubercle, which has a shape something like the edge of a shovel blade, is as long as its first toe. Females and males look much alike, although the male frog has a black throat and a much longer third toe on the front foot. Toes are counted from the inside toe (in humans, the big toe) out. In addition, females are usually larger overall. Females grow to about 1.8 inches (4.5 centimeters) from snout to rump, while males reach about 1.3 inches (3.3 centimeters) when full grown.

Geographic range: The common squeaker lives in much of the southern half of Africa, including parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, northern South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.

Habitat: The common squeaker typically makes its home along the coast in sandy-soiled forests where dead leaves cover the ground. It can live in lowland forests or quite high up on mountainsides. In all, it has been found in places that are from 130 to 6,600 feet (40 to 2,000 meters) above sea level.

Diet: Common squeakers eat many different types of invertebrates, including insects, earthworms, and snails. They may also eat a small frog once in a while.

Behavior and reproduction: When the weather is dry, this frog often stays hidden under damp, dead leaves that lie on the forest floor or beneath grasses in fields. When it rains, however, it will come out during the daytime or at night to look for its next meal. In the breeding season, which is also during the rainy season, the males may use these same hiding places to call day and night for females. The call is a quick, high-pitched peep, similar to the sound a squeaky wheel might make as it spins around. The females lay their eggs in damp places, including little dips in the ground and burrows that are typically under layers of rotting leaves or in tangles of roots at the base of a tree. A female lays about thirty-three to eighty eggs at a time. The eggs are white, about 0.1 inches (2.5 millimeters) in diameter, and are each surrounded in gel. In about one month, these eggs hatch right into froglets, skipping the tadpole stage seen in many other frogs.

Common squeakers and people: The common squeaker does quite well around humans and is often found in gardens. People do not hunt this frog, and it is not common in the pet trade.

Conservation status: The World Conservation Union (IUCN) dos not consider the common squeaker to be at risk. It is very common and found over a large area, including some protected places where logging and other human activities are not allowed. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansSqueakers and Cricket Frogs: Arthroleptidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Common Squeaker (arthroleptis Stenodactylus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET, CRICKET FROGS SQUEAKERS AND PEOPLE