FRACTS!: A mother’s day special: Mother Frogs

It is amazing how some frogs care for their young when frogs are generally known as ‘Cannibals’. There are quite a number of species of frogs that have their own ways of ‘parental care’ which is unusual and also interesting depending on how the anatomy of the frog (or toad) is OR just their own instinct. So, let’s learn more about them!

Marsupial Frogs (Gastrotheca)

Why are they named as ‘Marsupial’ Frogs? Well, the answer is obvious. Pouches, just like Kangaroos (eventhough is not really a real pouch for the marsupial frogs). About these amazing creatures in this frog kingdom, with the help of the male frog to gather as much eggs he can to relocate on the back of female frogs which the skin will then absorb the eggs into it to serve as a ‘pouch’ which is also known as the ‘dorsal brood pouch’. This method of ‘parental care’ is good because, usually many species of frogs left the eggs unattended in the wild and are expected to survive on their own since day one of hatching.

Giving you an example, one of the endangered species of the Marsupial Frog, Andean Marsupial Tree Frog. As the eggs are transferred to the back of the female frog and lasts for 5 to 6 weeks. During that point of time is when the eggs are ready to hatch into tadpoles inside the dorsal brood pouch of the mummy frog! Then, they are able to break out from the pouch of the female frog and continue their development from there where the metamorphosis will occur in a few weeks’ time!

Gastric-Brooding frog

Here comes my favourite part, the ‘mouth birthing’ of frogs. These frogs come with two different species Rheobatrachus silus and Rheobatrachus vitellinus, both can only be found in one place, Australia.

This is something that people should really appreciate this nature of animals, however, due to unknown reasons (more likely to be human intervention), both of the frogs with this kind of parental behavioural instinct are EXTINCT! But, the good news is that scientists are trying to ‘de-extinct’ them back to life!

As you can see from the 1st picture above, that is how the frogs care for its young. At first external fertilization will take place by the male, then the female would take the eggs or embryos into her mouth and swallow them. Most female frogs had around 40 ripe eggs, almost double that of the number of juveniles ever found in the stomach (21–26). This means one of two things, that the female fails to swallow all the eggs or the first few eggs to be swallowed are digested. But, the jelly coating of the eggs contains a substance that will help to stop the hydrochloric acid to digest the eggs. – Then when the hatches in to juveniles (or tadpoles), have this special mucus, to help to keep the mother’s stomach into a non-functional state. So, overtime the young developed in its mother’s body, her stomach grew larger and her lungs deflated and relies its skin to get oxygen to live [1].

Lets see how the mother frog sacrifice itself to care for her young and its body had to adapt just to bear her own children!


Glad you had enjoyed reading this article and thank you very much! Don’t forget to be kind to one another and love your mum for all the sacrifices she have made just to make you happy, live and grow. – Frosch


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My froggy Resources:

[1] : Tyler, M. J. (1994). Chapter 12, “Gastric Brooding Frogs”, pp. 135–140 in Australian Frogs A Natural History. Reed Books

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