Black Rain Frogs

Black Rain Frogs are native to South Africa and are about 2 inches in length. Instead of warts, they have thousands of small granules on their skin making them look somewhat like an avocado. Black Rain Frogs are not poisonous and can live up to 15 years in captivity.

Common NameBlack Rain Frog
Other NameGrumpy Rain Frog, Plain Rain Frog,
Brown Short-Headed Frog, Tsitsikama Rain Frog
Scientific NameBreviceps fuscus
LocationsSouth Africa
CharacteristicsDark brown or black skin, Round body, Short limbs,
Short toes that are disproportionate in length.  
Origin South Africa
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Family Brevicipitidae
Genus Breviceps
Species B. fuscus
Poisonous No 
Maximum Length 1.6 – 2 inches
Average Lifespan4 years, 15 years in captivity

Black Rain Frogs have short limbs and disproportionate toes, and a round body. They can be found in various shades of dark brown. Some Black Rain Frogs are so dark they almost look black, hence the name. They are generally found in South Africa, from the Cape Fold Belt from Swellendam to the Outeniqua Mountains at elevations of around 3,300 feet.

This species gained quite a lot of attention for its grumpy and puffed facial expression, leading to a ton of frog memes. For example, the “Frogvocaddo” is a hybrid of a Black Rain Frog / Avocado.

Black Rain Frogs do not have any pigmented patterns across their bodies but they can be very round and bumpy. But, they may have slightly lighter bellies, which stand out upon their dark-toned skin.

Tips on How To Spot Black Rain Frogs

The Black Rain Frog are native to South Africa and thrive within the Cape Fold Belt region from Swellendam to the Outeniqua Mountains. They live in forest fringes and fynbos regions at elevations of approximately 3,300 ft. Black Rain frogs predominantly live in temperate forests, which are adorned with Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation. 

Here are a few tips to help you catch a glimpse of this infamous frog species:

  • Black Rain frogs hide in holes during the day and are active after sunset at night.
  • They may puff up and screech to look larger and protect themselves against predators.
  • Male Black Rain Frogs often call from within burrows and can be heard quite easily in nearby areas.
  • Black Rain frogs spend the evening wandering forest floors in search of insects and worms.
  • Black Rain frogs are most active at night, as they spend low light hours hunting for food.

This unique frog species is fairly small, with a flattened, spade-like inner metatarsal and resemble blown-up balloons with avocado-like skin. Contrary to most frogs, other than toads, Black Rain Frogs burrow during the day. They dig generally underground to search for moisture and shelter during the day to stay out of the sun.

Interesting Black Rain Frog Facts

  • Black Rain Frogs can dig tunnels up to 6 inches deep.
  • Black Rain Frog puff up their bodies to several times their standard size to make more difficult for predators to pull them out of their hiding places. 
  • During reproduction, females secrete a sticky substance so that males do not fall off their backs.
  • Black Rain frogs can fold their legs up under their bodies at will. 
  • Male Black Rain Frogs stay in burrows to protect the eggs until they hatch during mating season.
  • Black Rain Frogs do not have a free-living larval stage and show direct development, unlike many other frog species. 
  • Female Black Rain frogs lay a mound of 25 – 30 empty egg cases above the real eggs as a decoy, as predators will likely feed on the top eggs.
  • They cannot swim, but can inflate and float in the water until they reach the ground.
  • Some local cultures see these rain frogs as a sign of good luck.

More About Rain Frogs

Black Rain Frogs have even been nicknamed “Angry Avocados” for their uniquely scrunched faces and dark, bumpy, puffed bodies. Black Rain Frogs are undoubtedly far more interesting than they may seem, with plenty of amphibian enthusiasts finding their odd and grumpy appearance incredibly adorable! 

Learn more about Black Rain Frogs in the articles on our blog below:

Common Questions About Rain Frogs

Are Black Rain Frogs good pets? Black Rain Frogs are common exotic pets however they require a very unique environment and may die if their specific needs are not met with regards to water, temperature, humidity and choice of substrate.

What do Black Rain Frogs Sound Like? Black Rain Frogs emit little chirps as a part of their calls. Their chirps last for around 0.2 seconds per call and have a dominant frequency of 1.8 kHz.

What do Black Rain Frogs Eat? Like most frogs, Black Rain frogs mainly feed on small insects available in their environment including worms, spiders, moths and flies.

What are Black Rain Frogs’ Predators? Black Rain frog’s predominant predators include snakes, local bushpigs, and birds of prey. But, they are fairly smart in avoiding hungry predators with their defence mechanisms including puffing up and screaming. 

Are Black Rain Frogs Endangered? Black Rain Frogs are not endangered. They are abundant in their natural habitats, and locals in South Africa mostly support or protect their living needs. However, they still suffer from habitat loss due to alien vegetation, frequent fires, and deforestation. 

How Many Babies Do Black Rain Frogs Have? Black Rain Frogs lay 30 – 40 eggs at a time but usually have nests of around 42 – 43 eggs. The eggs are yellow and are approximately the same size as one pencil eraser or one half of a pea. Black Rain Frogs lay their eggs in burrows to keep them safe. 

Sources

Channing, A. (2001). Amphibians of Central and Southern Africa. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York. 

Hewett, J. (1925). ”Descriptions of three new toads belonging to the genus Breviceps Merrem.” Annals of the Natal Museum, 5, 189-194. 

Minter, L., Channing, A., Harrison, J. (2004). Breviceps fuscus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2.