South African Herper's Desert Rain Frog Video Goes Viral
An obscure and endangered frog from South Africa that has been dubbed the world's cutest frog by the photographer who captured video of the amphibian "squeaking" while in defensive mode is now a rising star on YouTube. The video "World's Cutest Frog" shows a desert rain frog (Breviceps macrops) calling out in what IOL Scitech says is the frog's defense mode. In addition, the frog had a puffed up appearance with bulging eyes, making it all the more cuter. The photographer and reptile breeder, Dean Boshoff uploaded the video to YouTube on Feb. 13 and within days the video hit 100,000 views, and as of February 26, the video had more than 4 million views. Boshoff captured video of the frog, which is on the IUCN Red List as a threatened species, in January when he was camping in South Africa's Northern Cape. The frog apparently is endemic to a coastal strip of land that is 6 miles wide in Namibia and South Africa, according to the Iol Scitech news report. The video has gone viral to such an extent that Boshoff was interviewed by CNN.
The desert rain frog is different from most other frogs in that it has eyes that bulge out of its head, a short snout and limbs, and a peculiar vocalization. It appears to look like a puff ball. A nocturnal species, the desert rain frog spends its days underground and comes out at night to wander over the surface of the sand dunes in which it lives. Its footprints are often found around patches of animal droppings where it is presumed to eat moths, beetles and other insects that congregate near the droppings. Eggs of the rain frog are laid in its burrow, and unlike other frogs, there is no aqueous tadpole stage.
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John B. Virata keeps a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata