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Clawed Frogs and Surinam Toads: Pipidae - Tropical Clawed Frog (silurana Tropicalis): Species Accounts

Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansClawed Frogs and Surinam Toads: Pipidae - Physical Characteristics, Geographic Range, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Clawed Frogs, Surinam Toads, And People - HABITAT


Physical characteristics: If a frog were made of milk chocolate and started to melt, it would look something like the tropical clawed frog. This frog has a light chocolate brown or slightly greenish brown, flat, round blob of a body. Tiny gray and black marks fleck its back, and a row of 18 to 20 "stitches" runs down each side of the body from the eye to the rump. Its underside is white or light gray with some black blotches. It has a small, flat, round head with two beady eyes on top, and a tiny tentacle hanging below each eye. Its hind legs are large and pudgy. When the frog is sitting, its back legs and its much smaller forelegs stick out from the side of the animal, rather than tucking against the body as is common in most other frog species. Three claws If a frog were made of milk chocolate and started to melt, it would look something like the tropical clawed frog. (Illustration by Michelle Meneghini. Reproduced by permission.) are visible on its feet. The females are slightly larger than the males and usually grow to 1.7 inches (4.3 centimeters) long from snout to rump. The males typically reach 1.4 inches (3.6 centimeters) long.

Geographic range: Tropical clawed frogs live in western Africa.

Habitat: The tropical clawed frog lives mainly in water within tropical forests, but sometimes it lives in the ponds of grassland areas that are alongside forests. It does not exist in mountain areas.

Diet: From what little is known about its diet, scientists believe the tropical clawed frog eats almost anything it can find, including various invertebrates and tadpoles. They are not sure if it eats its own tadpoles or those of other frogs.

Behavior and reproduction: This frog stays in the water most of the time, but it will move about on land from pond to pond on very rainy nights. They behave differently during the dry season, when water can be scarce. Those that live near rivers hide in holes or under stone and roots during the daytime and sit at night in small, rocky pools of water left standing along the river. Those that live in ponds that lose much of their water in the dry season will bury themselves in the muddy pond bottom.

The tropical clawed frog takes advantage of the year-round warmth of the climate where it lives and may mate whenever a heavy rain drenches the land. The males will make their rattling call at night from large forest ponds or small forest pools. When a male finds a female, he climbs onto her back and holds on above her hind legs to mate with her. She lays her eggs in the water, and the eggs stick to underwater plants.

Tropical clawed frogs and people: People rarely see this frog in the wild, and it is not popular in the pet trade.

Conservation status: This species is not considered to be at risk. ∎

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