Goliath Frog

The Goliath Frogs are generally impressive and intimidating in size and strength. Found in parts of Western Africa, Goliath Frogs can jump about 10 feet, have been around for over 250 million years, and can grow to the size of a small cat at 13 inches long and weigh up to 7.2 pounds.

Common NameGoliath Frog
Other NameGoliath Bullfrog, Giant Slippery Frog
Scientific NameConraua Goliath
Habitat Small Ranges and Rainforests 
CharacteristicsBrown-green spotted dorsal skin with yellow or orange abdomens and ventral limb areas
Origin/ LocationWestern Africa, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea
Conservation StatusEndangered; Threatened
Family Conrauidae
Genus Conraua
Species C. Goliath
Poisonous No
Maximum Length 13 inches
Maximum Weight7.2 lb
Average Lifespan15 years in the wild and 21 years in captivity

The Goliath Frog is an incredibly interesting species, living in small ranges and rainforest environments in Western Africa. While their development starts out the same size as other frog tadpoles, they mature into the largest frog species in the world as adults.

Goliath Frogs can reach staggering sizes, growing up to 13 inches in length. Their eyes can reach 2 inches in diameter, weighing up to 7.2 lbs. This unique frog has fully webbed toes and granular dorsum skin topped with yellow or orange abdomen and ventral limb areas.

How To Spot Goliath Frogs

Spotting a Goliath Frog in the wild will be challenging, as their habitat is fairly restricted. Goliath Frogs need humid, oxygen-rich, and slightly acidic habitats of around 67°F. They live in Western Africa, specifically in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, and these areas are not too simple to come across and observe.

Additionally, Goliath Frogs are rather skittish, making it challenging for even experienced explorers to observe them in their natural habitat. When professionals traveled to their habitats, the Goliath Frogs would leap into the river at the slightest sound indicating human presence.

Goliath Frogs need to live near water sources to survive, much like most aquatic frog species. They usually occupy spaces near swift-flowing rivers and waterfalls. This species typically comes out at night to sit on river rocks in search of food sources.

These frogs are often hunted and killed for their leg meat. Thankfully, some areas are protected and dedicated to conserving Goliath Frogs. These areas include three wildlife sanctuaries in Littoral Province in Cameroon and Monte Alen National Park in Equatorial Guinea. A limit of 300 frogs per year has been set for exporting to help keep this precious frog species alive.

It may still be possible to get a glimpse of this amazing frog species in other parts of the world. The San Diego Zoo and San Francisco Zoo in California and other zoos worldwide may house Goliath Frogs. Visiting these zoos will likely be the best way to view this remarkable frog species in real life.

Interesting Goliath Frog Facts

  • Goliath Frogs are the largest frog species in the world and can grow to the size of a small cat.
  • Goliath Frogs can jump approximately 10 feet forward in a single leap.
  • Male Goliath Frogs open their mouths and make a long whistling noise to attract females.
  • Younger Goliath Frogs spend most of their time underwater, while adults spend their time on rocks. 
  • Goliath Frogs have lived for approximately 250 million years.
  • The Goliath Frogs’ green-brown dorsal skin acts as camouflage in wet and moss-covered environments.
  • Goliath Frogs use heavy rocks to build nesting areas for tadpoles.
  • The word ‘conraua’ stems from a German man named Gustav Conrau, who might have collected the first Goliath Frog.
  • Goliath Frogs can swim extremely fast to evade potential threats. 
  • Goliath Frogs have incredible hearing abilities.

Questions Related to Goliath Frogs

What do Goliath Frogs Eat? Mature Goliath Frogs are carnivores, similar to many other larger frogs. They predominantly eat fish, other smaller amphibians, mollusks, crustaceans, small mammals, and insects. Tadpoles are herbivores until maturity. 

What are Goliath Frogs’ Predators? Unfortunately, the predominant predator of Goliath Frogs is generally humans, as they often hunt Goliath Frogs for trade and as a valuable food source. Natural predators include snakes, crocodiles, and monitor lizards. Tadpoles may be eaten by hedgehogs, dragonflies, birds, and snakes. 

Do Goliath Frogs Make Noise? One would expect such a large frog species to have a roaring croak to match. But, Goliath Frogs are silent giants. This species does not have a vocal sac, and they are mute as a result. However, they can whistle to communicate with each other. 

Are Goliath Frogs Endangered? Goliath Frogs are endangered due to habitat loss and human trade, often leaving behind premature or adolescent Goliath Frogs. As a result, fewer Goliath Frogs can reproduce, which ultimately leads to a decline in the overall population. The last three generations have seen a 50% decline in numbers. 

Are Goliath Frogs Poisonous? Goliath Frogs may not be safe for physical contact, but they are not poisonous. However, like any other animal, they may carry viral or bacterial diseases such as salmonella.

Why Is The Goliath Frog So Big? It’s thought that Goliath Frogs became so big from pushing large rocks around to build nests. Scientists were able to identify 22 breeding sites along a single river in their habitat, divided into three types. The rocks used weighed up to 4.4 lbs, requiring a ton of muscle work. 

How Many Babies Do Goliath Frogs Have? Goliath Frogs can lay between several hundred and several thousand eggs at a time. The incubation period is approximately 85 – 95 days, and it takes between 10 – 12 months to reach maturity. 

What Are the Biggest Threats to Goliath Frogs? To date, the most significant threat to this unique species is the loss of habitat due to hunting, farming, human settlement, logging, declining food sources, zoo collections and illegal pet trade. 

More About Goliath Frogs

It is unbelievably sad to know that the Goliath Frog’s largest concern is humanity itself, especially when this species has been around for longer than we have. Fortunately, there are quite a few passionate individuals, teams, organizations, and bodies that are devoted to ensuring the longevity of this incredible frog species. 

Learn more about how you can help frogs in our guides below:

Sources

Halliday, T. (2016). The Book of Frogs: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred Species from around the World. University of Chicago Press. p. 527. ISBN 978-0226184654.

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2019. Conraua goliathThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T5263A96062132. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-1.RLTS.T5263A96062132.en.

Marvin Schäfer, Sedrick Junior Tsekané, F. Arnaud M. Tchassem, Sanja Drakulić, Marina Kameni, Nono L. Gonwouo & Mark-Oliver Rödel (2019) Goliath frogs build nests for spawning – the reason for their gigantism?, Journal of Natural History, 53:21-22, 1263-1276, DOI: 10.1080/00222933.2019.1642528