Denver Zoo Receives 20 Endangered Titicaca Water Frogs

November 25, 2015

The Denver Zoo is now home to 20 Lake Titicaca frogs (Telmatobius culeus), the largest aquatic frog in the world and a critically endangered species. The frogs, which hatched in March at the Huachipa Zoo in Lima, Peru, will be under three months quarantine before they can be viewed by the public. The zoo will also look into the behavior of the frog as well as possible breeding programs for the amphibian. 

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the wild population of this species has declined 80 percent over the last three generations due to over collection for human consumption, pollution and predation by introduced trout into the body of water in which the frog is native. 

The Lake Titicaca frog is the largest aquatic frog in the world, reaching lengths of up to 20 inches and weights of up to 2.2 pounds. It is only found in Lake Titicaca and the rivers that feed into the lake. The frog is known for its excessive skin that helps it to breathe and because of this skin, it is also known as the Titicaca scrotum water frog.

In Peru, the critically endangered frog is grinded up into a juice and sold as an elixer that supposedly cures a range of ailments. 

John Virata keeps a western hognose snake, a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata 


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