SAYS THE BUDGETT’S FROG
By GABBIE ABESAMIS
Photos by JEFFREY C. LIM
If you’ve been online lately, it’s likely that you’ve seen these hilarious looking frogs who have been gaining popularity, thanks to meme culture.
Discovered in 1899 by English zoologist John Samuel Budgett, the Budgett’s Frog is quite interesting, given their topside eyes, pancake-like body, and giant mouth that make them a sight worth remembering.
Despite being cute, they can be incredibly vicious! These frogs will try to bite or eat anything that passes their line of sight if they can grab it fast enough.
WHERE THEY COME FROM
Originating from South America in places like Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina, the Budgett’s Frog (Lepidobatrachus laevis) is usually found around shallow bodies of water, such as ponds.
With them being ambush predators, their day starts and ends with them sticking their top sided nose and eyes above the surface of the water, waiting for birds, insects, or small rodents.
These fully aquatic frogs are also excellent swimmers, so when they’re not stalking prey by the surface, they’re plunged in the water, just sitting there until they feel like going back up again.
HOW THEY BEHAVE
Naturally quite aggressive, if anything gets close enough, they will puff up to appear larger, and then they attack. If left alone, however, they spend their day waiting around in the water.
Budgett’s Frogs aren’t the biggest out there, but they certainly are one of the most weird-looking.
As adults, they can get as big as 5 to 6 inches. Imagine, however, that their mouth alone is actually three-fourths of their entire body!
HIP, HIP, HIPPO!
Because their top-facing little eyes and nose are constantly peeking out of the water – just like the hippopotamus – they have been dubbed the “Hippo Frog.”
SCREAMING FOR SELF-DEFENSE
Budgett’s Frogs have a unique way of defending themselves against predators: If they get cornered, they will literally scream.
Their screeching, which also gave them the name Freddie Kreuger frog, sounds like a cat being strangled. It is their primary defense, in the same way a dog barks when threatened.
It is this screeching that makes them so well-known around the world, especially with the younger generations, thanks to a viral video.
IF SCREECHING DOESN’T WORK…
The Budgett’s Frog has a nifty, unexpected backup plan: the two fangs found at the bottom of their mouth.
When they are on the attack, they will lunge and latch on. While this may not be as bad as a snake bite, it still stings.
THEIR WILL TO SURVIVE
With their mouths being so large, it can be a bit of a problem for people caring for them. These frogs will swallow and shove anything in their mouths!
They eat whatever they can fit in their mouths, especially with their huge appetites. If they were to be encounter 15 guppies, they will keep eating them nonstop – they just don’t know when to stop if they get excited. An attempt to get the guppies out of the way would remind you of the game Pac-Man, where the frog would try to chase after them before they’re taken away.
Despite being so full that they’re about to pop, it is instinctive for Budgett’s Frogs to consume as much food as possible, because who knows when their next meal will be?
WHAT THEY EAT
As carnivores, their natural diet consists of a mixture of live insects, earthworms, crickets, roaches, wax moth caterpillars, and fish.
Outside of their natural habitat, young Budgett’s Frogs should be fed daily. When they reach adulthood, they are best fed only twice a week or so, as they are prone to obesity.
Because of their insatiable appetite, Budgett’s Frogs shouldn’t be given more than they can consume. This helps them stay healthy, because on their own, they don’t know their own limits.
MAKING FRIENDS WITH THESE FROGS
Budgett’s frogs aren’t the best companions for those who are taking care of amphibians for the first time, especially if they expect to hold them – that just won’t work with these frogs.
Aside from obvious reasons, such as their instinct to bite, these guys absorb anything that touches their skin. Handling should be kept to an absolute minimum.
WRIGGLING OUT OF TROUBLE
Be cautious when feeding them earthworms. These worms can sometimes crawl into the frog’s nose and irritate them.