Edible Bullfrogs

Pyxicephalus edulis

While I doubt it reached proportions that would convince the Pharaoh to allow the Israelites to leave Egypt, the “eruption” of little froglets we saw at uMkhuze Game Reserve during our recent visit was quite fascinating. Rain or shine, literally hundreds (if not more) of tiny frogs could be seen jumping around on the roads all over the reserve, making driving quite tricky if you didn’t want to squash them under the vehicle’s wheels.

Thanks to the help of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park the little ones were identified as juvenile Edible Bullfrogs (or Lesser Bullfrogs), a species that occurs over wide areas of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, and indeed is eaten by humans in many countries where they occur. Though these newly metamorphosed juveniles were only about the size of a thumbnail, the Edible Bullfrog can grow to 12cm in length.

They can be found in seasonally flooded savannas and grassy woodlands, remaining dormant underground for most of the year (up to 10 months) and emerging only when sufficient rain has fallen for breeding to commence. During the breeding season males act very aggressively towards one another and will even kill each other. Eggs are laid in well vegetated, shallow, seasonal bodies of water where the males guard the eggs and tadpoles against other males and predators. Interestingly, when the tadpoles’ pools start drying up the males will dig channels to deeper pools. Edible Bullfrogs feed on a variety of invertebrates and small vertebrates, including other frogs, and feature in turn in the diets of various species of birds, reptiles and mammals (humans included).

 

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27 thoughts on “Edible Bullfrogs

  1. aj vosse

    Nee wat… die bietjie Fraanse bloed in my jaak nie eers lou nie… ek sal maar ‘pass’ op daai iedee! Bring die skaap tjoppies… die steak en wors of ‘n ou kreefie of tien… en moenie die rooi goed vergeet nie! 😉

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  2. Joanne Sisco

    I was told once that falling frog populations are an early indicator of a serious problem in an ecosystem.
    Each spring in the wetlands of our local parks, a small army of volunteers go out to count the frog population. All those little babies in your photos would have our volunteers pretty busy – not to mention, excited 🙂
    It’s interesting how each of nature’s creatures, even the tiny ones, are so important to the overall health of our environment.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      That is very true, Joanne – due to frog’s unique physiology and position at the top of the food chain they are of the first to die of when water quality deteriorates. Wonderful to know that it is taken so seriously in your part of the world!

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      We really tried hard not to squash any, Sylvia, and I sincerely hope we were successful. I must admit that my mouth isn’t watering at the thought of eating an edible bullfrog either…

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  3. petrujviljoen

    Ek weet nie of jy onthou, ‘n ruk terug het ek gevra oor ‘n ‘verkleurmannetjie’-agtige padda wat iemand hier (Mpumalanga, Graskop area) raak geloop het? Dit blyk ‘n algemene ding te wees! Ek kan nie nou die fundi se naam onthou nie, Carruthers miskien, het ‘n boek geskryf daaroor! Hierdie met die groen strepie oor die rug is te mooi! Ek kan my nie voorstel dat mens hulle eet nie. Ek is dankbaar ek’s vegetarier!

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  4. Beth

    Where we lived several years ago, near a river, the frogs in our small pond could get so loud we had to shut our windows to hear each other talk. Certainly there would be no sleep at night with the “froggies” calling to potential mates.

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