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- Reptiles & Amphibians
The Great Goliath Frog.
Huge and Harmless: The Goliath
A Gentle Giant Best Left Alone.
The Great Goliath Frog.
An amphibian whose degree of appetite might be said to be only exceeded by its scale of ugliness.
The African Goliath Frog is so huge it weighs as much as many small dogs, weighing in at as much as 10 pounds and more than a foot in length from nose to tail. Despite its great bulk, the Goliath is a meek creature - unless you are a crab, as crustaceans make up its main diet. But sadly, this singular “anuran” is another unique life form now on the endangered list, mainly due to idiots who must kidnap spiders, tarantulas, snakes and even frogs to charm their guests from the dungeon of some aquarium. The problem is the Goliath hates captivity; almost never breeds away from its habitat, and wants to be back in its watery wonderland doing what it was before the human ape got hold of it to make a few pounds in the often illegal pet trade. Recently, the Equatorial Guinea government has decreed a limit on export of the Frog to no more than 300 mature adults per year, but I think we can all take that with a pinch of salt. Also, in the case of this giant frog, it is edible and consumed - with a pinch of salt -by some locals who are apparently tired of chicken.
Boasting the impressive title of “Conraua Goliath,” the beast eats just about anything smaller that it can cram into its capacious maw, although crabs are its favourite food as said above. It will eat small fish if it can catch them, insects and even other frogs using its acute hearing to locate prey…they won’t hear the monster coming, either, because the Goliath is mute, having no vocal sac. They do not bite humans, although they might, as Churchill once said of an ageing and toothless bulldog, “He can still give you a nasty suck!”
The frogs live up to 15 years or more, making them one of the longest living frogs. Little is known of their mating habits, but one interesting fact is the male pushes rocks together in half-moon patterns as some sort of stimulus for the female.
The Goliath has an extremely small range in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea in West Africa.
If only man would be content to leave these incredible creatures alone in their habitat and go there to observe them, or perhaps allow only accredited zoos and commercial aquariums to keep them in other lands, in a semblance of their natural surroundings, where they might possibly breed, to allow students and the public to see them. Why anyone would want to keep a solitary creature like this in a glass cage, day after day, year after year, until it dies from sheer boredom and anguish is beyond this writer. I am far from sainthood, but I suffer enough knowing my poor budgies cannot ever have a free life in the glorious Australian skies as nature intended: at least they have each other.