Purple “Pignose” Frog
This bizarre, bloated, purple and pignosed frog – Purple Frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) for short – isn’t exactly what you might call handsome. Since it spends most of its life underground (only emerging to mate), however, appearances are more irrelevant than usual. This odd and decidedly un-froglike amphibian is the only surviving member of a group of amphibians that evolved around 130 million years ago, during the Age of the Dinosaurs. Scientists believe it uses its pointy touch-sensitive snout to seek out its main prey of termites. (image via David V. Raju)
* Fun Frog Fact: This unusual frog was first formally described in October of 2003, though the species’ tadpole stage had been known, documented and categorized since 1918.
Horned Marsupial Frog
The Horned Marsupial Frog (Gastrotheca cornuta) is found in humid rainforest regions of Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama. The eggs of this tree frog are the largest known amphibian eggs and female frogs have a brood pouch with individual chambers for each egg. Supplied with life-giving oxygen via a complex vascular system, the larvae never experience a free-living tadpole stage. Instead, tiny froglets make their way out of the brood pouch when their development is complete. (image via Brian Gratwicke)
* Fun Frog Fact: The call of the Horned Marsupial Frog is said to sound like a champagne cork being drawn. Celebrating the birth of some froglets, we presume!
Vietnamese Mossy Frog
The Vietnamese Mossy Frog (Theloderma corticale) looks more like a warty toad than a glossy frog. This distinctive amphibian has evolved rough and mossy-looking skin that acts as effective camouflage in its moist rainforest habitat. Also known as the rather less flattering Tonkin Bug-eyed Frog, this curious creature from northern Vietnam and southern China is equally at home in the trees or in water. (image via Dawn Pedersen)
* Fun Frog Fact: The Vietnamese Mossy Frog isn’t much of a jumper. When threatened or frightened, it’s more likely to curl into a motionless ball then to hop, skip or jump away from danger.
The Hairy Frog (Trichobatrachus robustus) or “Horror Frog” – more on that later – is native to central Africa. This unique amphibian is amazing is several different ways, the first being the clusters of hair-like filaments grown by males of the species. Initially puzzling to researchers, it turns out these filaments are filled with tiny blood vessels. The males remain submerged for extended periods, guarding eggs laid by their mates, and the gill-like organs may help the male frogs extract life-giving oxygen from pond water. (image via Dunk)
* Fun Frog Fact: Now to the Horror Frog designation, or should that be “Wolverine Frog”? Trichobatrachus robustus can extrude sharp claws from the tips of its fingers and toes. Unlike the iconic X-Men character, however, this frog manages the feat by pushing the claws, which are actually the ends of its finger bones, through its own skin! It’s presumed that the insta-claws heal over naturally after being used, though we’re guessing researchers haven’t stuck around to confirm this amazing feat… or should we say, amazing feet!
Prefer your hoppers on the warm & fuzzy side? Check out Show Me The Bunny: The World’s 7 Most Amazing Rabbits!