Frog of the Week

Marbled Snout-Burrower (Hemisus marmoratus)

Photograph by Ryanvanhuyssteen


Common Name: Marbled Snout-Burrower, Marbled Shovelnose Frog, and Mottled Shovelnose frog
Scientific Name: Hemisus marmoratus
Family: Hemisotidae
Location: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, United Republic of Togo, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
Size: 1.9 inches or 49 mm for females, males are 1.3 inches or 34 mm

The Marbled Snout-Burrower pretty much just lives everywhere in Africa that is lower than the Sahara Desert. These frogs are adept at living underground in burrows. They even lay their eggs in burrows underground. They dig underground head first, which is rare since most dig with their hind legs.

Mating for the frogs starts when it starts to rain. The male calls out to the female frogs like most frog species. Males start the amplexus on the female frog while the female still has to dig a burrow for the eggs. The male does the usually stuff and leaves his mate after breeding. The females sit on their eggs to keep them moist. The rain continues to fall during the time the female sits on the eggs over days and eventually the tadpoles hatch and the water level raises enough for the tadpoles to move toward bigger bodies of water. The mother also helps them along the way.


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