Please see Part 1 of this article for information on the natural history, amazing reproductive biology (including terrestrial nesting) and captive breeding of the Smokey Jungle Frog (a/k/a South American Bullfrog, Leptodactylus pentadactylus).
The hefty, robust adults are capable of taking quite large prey, including small birds, snakes, other frogs, mice and other rodents, scorpions and tarantulas as well as earthworms, roaches, moths and other invertebrates.
Smokey Jungle Frogs they are one of the few animals known to consume the highly toxic Poison Frogs, Dendrobates spp.
I’ve had good success with a diet comprised largely of earthworms, roaches, crickets and wild-caught insects (please see my article on Collecting Feeder Insects). I use shiners and crayfishes as a calcium source, but a pink mouse may be offered every 6-8 weeks if desired.
Smokey Jungle Frogs are hunted by a variety of predators, including larger members of their own species, snakes, tegus, coatis, caiman and, in some parts of their range, people.
The Smokey Jungle Frog is long-lived once adulthood is reached, with 15- year-old wild individuals on record. Captive longevity exceeds 20 years.
While a number of the 100+ described species in the family Leptodactylidae superficially resemble the Smokey Jungle Frog (i.e. the highly endangered Mountain Chicken, L. falax), the heavily-barred upper lip and paired dorso-lateral folds are distinctive.
Status in the Wild
Populations appear stable in those areas that have been surveyed, but this species is difficult to study due to the densely-vegetated habitats it prefers and its nocturnal ways.
Smokey Jungle Frogs are collected for human consumption within the Amazon Basin, and possibly elsewhere.
Smokey Jungle Frogs protect themselves by secreting copious amounts of mucus. The mucus renders them quite slippery and also contains toxins that irritate on contact (causing rashes in people) and even via indirect contact… people in the same room with an agitated frog may sneeze and experience irritated and swollen eyes and mucus membranes. Other frogs are killed on contact with mucus residue.
When threatened, Smoky Jungle Frogs face their adversaries, inflate their bodies and rear up and down in a series of push-ups, thereby exposing the dorsal toxin glands to the enemy. They also emit loud, un-nerving screams when captured – inexperienced zoo keepers invariably drop the frogs upon hearing it!
Males will strike at an enemy with their powerful forearms and spike-tipped thumbs (please see Part 1). They generate a considerable amount of pressure when doing this – enough, in my experience, to make one wary of handling them carelessly.
Field research has shown Smoky Jungle Frogs maintain an accurate map of their surroundings, and return to their burrows via a straight, direct path when displaced. The mechanics of this process are not yet understood.
Read more about this frog’s care and natural history on the website of the World Association of Zoos.
Video of Smokey Jungle Frog defense posture and feeding behavior.
Smokey Jungle Frog image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by D. Gordon E. Robertson