14 Fascinating Yet Bizarre Types of Frogs

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Amphibian fans can all agree that frogs are undeniably unique and interesting creatures, and all frogs are gifted with incredibly special abilities and characteristics. But, there are quite a few perplexing and remarkably fascinating frog species, most of which we may never be able to see up close in real life. 

Some of the most bizarre frogs include the Beelzebufo, Glass Frog, Hairy Frog, Desert Rain Frog, Tomato Frog, Surinam Toad, Red-Eyed Tree Frog, Mini Mum, Golden Poison Dart Frog, African Clawed Frog, Bruno’s Casque-Headed Frog, Pacman Frog, Darwin’s Frog and Rainbow Frogs.

While we may never see these wonderful creatures, there is still plenty to learn about them, thanks to researchers and scientific or naturalist investigators. Stick around to find out about some of the most unique and interesting frog species. 

1. Beelzebufo

The Beelzebufo frog species is an extinct prehistoric frog. Scientists only know details about this frog thanks to fossils recovered from Madagascar, dating back around 70 million years ago. It’s estimated that this species grew up to around 9 – 16 inches in length but some say it could have been 16.7 inches or 42.5 cm making it the world’s largest frog. They had large heads topped with bony scales known as scutes. They were most likely predators, feeding on smaller prey within their habitat.

2. Glass Frog

Most of the Glass Frog’s skin is a translucent green, but the skin along their lower body and legs is see through. Onlookers can view the glass frog’s internal viscera, which includes vital body components such as the liver, heart, and gastrointestinal tract. Glass frogs thrive in trees and are fairly small, growing to sizes of approximately 1.2 – 3 inches in length. 

3. Hairy Frog

Otherwise known as the Wolverine frog, the Hairy frog is a Central African species. They don’t actually have hair, but hair-like dermal papillae along the body contain arteries. These are used to increase the surface area for oxygen absorption. This terrestrial species has a broad head, rounded snouts, and short ridges of dark spines along the manual digit’s inner surface. Males grow to approximately 4 – 5 inches in length from snout to vent, and females grow to around 3 – 4.5 inches in length. 

4. Desert Rain Frog

The Desert Rain frog is predominantly found in Namibia and South Africa, living along sandy shores and sand dunes. This small and plump frog species has bulbous eyes, short limbs, a stout snout, and spade-like feet with webbed toes. They are known to make funny shrill screams to defend themselves from predators. Desert Rain Frogs are yellowish-brown topped with sand that frequently clings to the skin, and they grow to approximately 1.6 – 2.4 inches (CTNF).

5. Tomato Frog

Tomato frogs are bright red or orange with a round and puffed appearance, comprising three unique variants within the species. They are a funny frog species for their name that was given to them because of their color. Tomato Frogs secrete a thick poison that numbs predators’ eyes during an attack and puff up their bodies when they feel threatened. This species typically grows to around 2 – 3 inches in length and can live for 6 – 8 years

6. Surinam Toad

Surinam toads live in Venezuela and Columbia, growing to approximately 1.1 – 1.7 inches in length. Female toads carry their eggs on their back until they transform into toadlets. They have narrow heads in the dorsal view with a pointed snout and large eyes giving them a unique appearance. They have slender bodies topped with tuberculate skin and transparent webbing between the toes and fingers. 

7. Red-Eyed Tree Frog

Red-Eyed Tree Frogs are arboreal and native to Neotropical rainforests, and this species boasts an incredibly vibrant appearance. They made it on our list because they are so fascinating, with their red eyes and funny bum shakes. They have bright green bodies, blue stripes along their sides, orange and red feet, and a white underside. Their toes are equipped with sticky pads, which help them traverse their habitats and cling to branches or leaves. Red-Eyed Tree frogs grow to approximately 2 – 3 inches and are extremely good at camouflaging.

8. Mini Mum

Mini Mum frogs are incredibly unique as they are extremely small and sometimes lack teeth and odd toes. They are interestingly patterned with bold lateral colors and are small enough to fit on the very tip of a human’s finger. This tiny frog species is extremely limited in population and is potentially in critical danger. 

9. Golden Poison Dart Frog

Otherwise known as the Golden Poison Arrow frog, this frog species is incredibly bright with a vibrant yellowish gold appearance. They may be found in colors ranging from metallic gold to bright yellow. They are endemic to Columbia and are fairly small, growing to sizes under an inch in length. Despite their small size, they are lethally toxic. Golden Poison Dart Frogs are the most toxic frogs on Earth as one frog has enough poison to kill 10 humans or 20,000 mice.

10. African Clawed Frog

African Clawed Frogs are one of the only fully aquatic frog species and sometimes their legs look like a human rear end! African Clawed Frogs have three short claws on each hind foot, using them to rip its food apart during feeding. It’s predominantly found in Sub-Saharan Africa but has been introduced to other areas in controlled manners. African Clawed frogs are toothless and tongueless. This species is long-lived, surviving to around 15 years in the wild and 25 – 30 years in captivity and are often kept as pets.

11. Bruno’s Casque-Headed Frog 

The Bruno’s Casque-Headed frog species have the coolest looking snouts. They thrive in tropical regions and are endemic to Brazilian habitats. This slender yet highly toxic frog species has a broad and flattened head, pointed snouts, and forward-facing eyes. The skin on their heads is merged with their skulls, and they are equipped with adhesive discs on their digit tips. Males grow to 1.9 – 2.4 inches while females grow to around 2.2 – 3.2 inches in length (CTNF).

12. Pacman Frog

Otherwise known as South American Horned frogs, Pacman Frogs have a unique round shape and large mouths, reminiscent of the infamous video game character. There are quite a few variants of the species, including the Brazilian horned frog, Colombian horned frog, Surinam horned frog, Cranwell’s horned frog, Joazeiro horned frog, Argentine horned frog, Stolzmann’s horned frog, and Ecuador horned frog. They are often kept as pets, although not everyone should have a pet frog.

13. Darwin’s Frog

Darwin’s frogs are really cool because with their pointed nose and brown colors, they can look exactly like a leaf! Darwin’s frog species is native to the streams of Argentina and Chile, growing to around 0.9 – 1.2 inches in length. They have long and slender limbs, unwebbed front feet, and V-shaped markings, along with their brown or green bodies. Interestingly, this species houses tadpoles inside the male’s vocal sac, fairly different from many other species. 

14. Lipstick Frog

We got you on this one! Lipstick Frogs do not exist 😉 Although you may have seen photoshopped images of them like the one above on social media, frogs this color do not actually exist in nature. Purple Poison Dart Frogs, Lipstick or Pink Poison Dart Frogs, and Rainbow Frogs do not exist. The images you may see in search engines and on social media are edited versions of photos of real frogs.

Check out these 14 awesome aquatic frogs instead!

Discover More Amazing Frog Species

While all frogs have many similarities, these amphibians are extremely diverse in just about every way possible. Although many of these species are more dangerous than alluring, it’s still incredibly fascinating to learn about their unique traits and behaviors.

Discover more cool frog species and how you can help them on our blog:

Sources 

Dybas, Cheryl (2008-02-18). “Scientists Discover ‘Giant Fossil Frog from Hell'”. Press Release 08-025. National Science Foundation.

Frost, Darrel R. (2013). “Trichobatrachus Boulenger, 1900”. Amphibian Species of the World 5.6, an Online Reference. American Museum of Natural History. 

Zweifel, Robert G. (1998). Cogger, H.G.; Zweifel, R.G. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 94–95. ISBN 0-12-178560-2.

Castillo, Nery (2011-06-23). “Breviceps macrops”. AmphibiaWeb.

Frost, Darrel R. (2014). “Dyscophus Grandidier, 1872”. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History.

Trueb, Linda; Cannatella, David C. (1986). “Systematics, morphology, and phylogeny of genus Pipa (Anura: Pipidae)”. Herpetologica. 42 (4): 412–449. JSTOR 3892485.

Hickman, P. and S. Roberts. 1995. Animal Diversity. Wm. C. Brown Publishers, Dubuque.

Scherz, Mark D.; Hutter, Carl D.; Rakotoarison, Andolalao; Riemann, Jana C.; Rödel, Mark-Oliver; Ndriantsoa, Serge H.; Glos, Julian; Roberts, Sam Hyde; Crottini, Angelica; Vences, Miguel; Glaw, Frank (2019-03-27). “Morphological and ecological convergence at the lower size limit for vertebrates highlighted by five new miniaturised microhylid frog species from three different Madagascan genera“. PLOS ONE. 14 (3): e0213314. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0213314. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 6436692. PMID 30917162.

Halliday, Tim (2016). The Book of Frogs: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred Species from Around the World. University of Chicago Press. p. 278. ISBN 978-0-226-18465-4.

The chemistry of poisonous frogs, and how they avoid poisoning themselves

wiki/African_clawed_frog 

wiki/Ceratophrys 

wiki/Darwins_frog

About The Author
Daniella is a Master Herpetologist and the founder of toadsnfrogs.com, a website dedicated to educating the general population on frogs by meeting them where they are in their online Google Search. Daniella is passionate about frogs and put her digital marketing skills and teaching experience to good use by creating these helpful resources to encourage better education, understanding, and care for frogs.