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Veronica's Random Dose - The Goliath Frog.
Since 1928, Calaveras County, California has faithfully held an annual frog-jumping contest.
In 1990 however, an astonishing creature was the basis behind a huge local controversy.
With a headline that read, Frog Jump Contest in Crisis Over Extra-Large Leapers, Mark A. Stein, reported in January 9, 1990,
"Jumpin' jiminy! Can it be? Is someone really trying to slip a ringer into the celebrated jumping frog contest of Calaveras County? Contest organizers said Monday that a Seattle man, a professional importer of exotic animals, has created a "superfrog crisis" by trying to enter three eight-pound Goliath frogs in the whimsical contest made famous by Mark Twain. "It would be like racing draft horses against Thoroughbreds," complained Diane Baumann of the 39th District Agricultural Assn."
Frog Jumping Contest and Rules.
While most of the frogs entered were of the California bullfrogs species - which rarely weigh more than a pound [0.5 kg] - an exotic animal importer tried to enter his own frogs in the contest: Goliath frogs from West Africa that weighed as much as 12 pounds [7 kg] and extended as far as 3 feet [1 m]in length.
Contest organizers protested and moved to block Goliath frogs from entering for five reasons:
- Organizers felt that the Goliath frogs might eat the smaller frogs.
- The Goliath frogs were too large for the jump-start padded area.
- Organizers felt that some Goliath frogs might jump out of the 35-foot-deep [11 m] staging arena and strike an onlooker.
- The current record of 21.5 feet [6.5 m], which was taken in three hops by other frogs; could be achieved by the Goliath frogs in a single jump.
- Tradition - traditionally, common California bullfrogs were the standard competitors.
With a little research, it's no surprise why this behemoth of an amphibian made such waves.
Known as the world's largest frog, the Conraua goliath or Goliath frog, resides along the banks, streams, rivers, and waterfalls of West Africa.
According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, this massive "frog is known only from south-western Cameroon from the region of Nkongsamba, and south to Monte Alen in mainland Equatorial Guinea."
Weighing in at seven pounds [3 kg] or more, and measuring in at three feet [0.9 m] long from head to toe, these amazing creatures are truly fascinating.
Much is not known about this elusive behemoth, nevertheless here are a few facts you may find interesting about this astonishing creature:
- Some Goliath frog specimens have been found to weigh as much as a small cat!
- The powerful legs of the Goliath frog can propel it ten feet [3 m] in one gigantic leap.
- The Goliath frog is extremely elusive. They tend to be the most active at night - sitting on rocks and hunting for animals such as crabs, insects, as well as other frogs.
- There are only two zoos in the United States that shelter Goliath frogs.
- Goliath frogs fail to thrive in captivity and according to Amazing Amphibians on the Animal Planet, they do not breed in captivity.
- Goliath frogs are extremely skilled swimmers - why wouldn't they be? Just check out the size of their feet in the above video.
- African scholars have started to do more research on Goliath frogs for medical purposes.
- Due to its lack of a vocal sac, Goliath frogs are not as "vocal" as one may think - actually they are mute.
Unfortunately, due to harvesting for food, loss of habitat, importation to zoos, pet trade, and competitive frog racing, the population of Goliath frogs has steadily declined. So much so, that no more than 300 are allowed to be exported out of their native country a year.
According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Website, it has been presumed that the Goliath frog survives in several protected areas, "and is confirmed from Monte Alen National Park in Equatorial Guinea."
Still, the site stated that additional measures need to be taken to work hand-in-hand with local communities; all in hopes of managing the harvesting of Goliath frogs at more sustainable levels.
In addition, it was suggested that a captive-breeding program be considered and initiated for the survival of this declining species.
With the little we do know about Goliath frogs, we can conclude that due to their size alone; they truly stand out among their other frog peers.
Hopefully, with raised awareness and further education, this unique species will escape extinction all together.
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