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See The Top 20 Weirdest Frogs and Toads

This guide has the 20 Weirdest Frogs and Toads in the world, and is where the peculiar and extraordinary come to life. We’ll introduce you to some of the most bizarre amphibians on the planet, including the visually striking Pacman frog, the almost transparent glass frogs, and the vivid red-eyed treefrog, which have all garnered interest in the pet trade due to their unique appearances.

Frogs and toads, which belong to the Anura order and are often differentiated by toads’ warty skin, boast a rich diversity with approximately 6,580 species identified so far. Among them, the gargantuan goliath frog, the deadly golden poison dart frog, and the intriguing Darwin’s frog stand out.

However, the enchanting world of these amphibians is under threat, with over 1,500 species classified as endangered, highlighting the urgent need for conservation.

Weirdest Frogs and Toads

1. Amazonian Horned Frog (Pacman)

Amazonian Horned Frog (Ceratophrys cornuta)
Amazonian Horned Frog (Ceratophrys cornuta)
  • Family: Ceratophryidae 
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Ceratophrys cornuta 
  • Size: 2.76 to 5.91 in (7 to 15 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Distribution: Amazonian Basin
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Least Concern 
  • Population Trend: Stable 
  • Viability as a Pet: Yes it can be kept as a pet

Upon seeing this frog you can immediately see that it is weird. It is difficult to describe it. It has a rotund body with a massive head, unlike most frogs. The coloration in males is dark green, lime, or tan while females are just tan.

The Amazonian horned frog is a species of Pacman frog. These frogs have rotund bodies with big heads and mouths that they use to catch prey.

The ventrum is gray.

The limbs of Ceratophrys cornuta are short and have black bands. This amphibian also has horn-like protrusions on the head. These horns give the species its common name. The species is also known as the Surinam horned frog.

Ceratophrys cornuta is endemic to the Amazonian Basin of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, the Guinas, Ecuador, and Colombia. It may also be endemic to the Amazonian Basin of Venezuela, although this is to be confirmed.

Within its range, the species inhabits open areas and is generally found in leaf litter within rainforests. The Ceratophrys cornuta is nocturnal and hides in leaf litter with its head poking out awaiting prey.

While amazonian horned frogs can be difficult to find, other Pacman frogs are easier to find.

2. Purple Frog

Purple Frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis)
Purple Frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) – source
  • Family: Nasikabatrachidae
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis
  • Size: 
  • Distribution: Western Ghats and Cardamom Hills, Kerala, India
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Near Threatened
  • Population Trend: Decreasing

 N. sahyadrensis is a rotund and bloated-looking frog. Similar to some of the frogs in this list, the purple frog doesn’t look like a frog at all. It is also dark purplish gray. This coloration gives the species its common name.

This is a burrowing frog that hides underground.

These frogs aren’t commonly kept as pets.

The species is endemic to the Western Ghats and Cardamom Hills, Kerala in India.

3. Bruno’s Casque-Headed Frog

Bruno’s Casque-Headed Frog (Nyctimantis brunoi)
Bruno’s Casque-Headed Frog (Nyctimantis brunoi) – source
  • Family: Hylidae 
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Nyctimantis brunoi
  • Female Size: 2.2 to 3.2 inches (5.6 to 8.1 cm)
  • Male Size: 1.9 to 2.4 inches (4.9 to 6.2 cm)
  • Distribution: southeastern Brazil 
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Least Concern
  • Population Trend: Decreasing 
  • Viability as a Pet: Yes, it can be kept as a pet

Bruno’s casque-headed frog’s peculiar appearance is down to its long and pointed snout. The head is also flattened and broad. In addition to this it has pointed projections on the head, these projections are sharp. Another interesting characteristic of this frog is that the skin on its head is fused to the skull. The rest of its body is similar to that of most frogs.

Bruno’s casque-headed frog is endemic to southeastern Brazil from northern Sao Paulo to southern Bahia. Here the species inhabit bamboo cavities and bromeliads on forest edges or in the forests. They also live in Restinga shrublands by the coast.

4. Darwin’s Frog

Darwin's Frog (Rhinoderma darwinii) by Alberto
Darwin’s Frog (Rhinoderma darwinii) by Alberto
  • Family: Rhinodermatidae
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Rhinoderma darwinii
  • Size: 0.98 to 1.38 in (25 to 35 mm)
  • Distribution: austral forest of Argentina and Chile 
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Endangered
  • Conservation Status -IUCN Species Recovery Category: Critically Depleted 
  • Population Trend: Decreasing
  • Viability as a Pet: No, Darwin’s frog isn’t kept as a pet

Rhinoderma darwinii resembles a leaf. The limbs are long and slender and the head has a fleshy proboscis which gives it a triangular appearance. It uses its leaf-like appearance as camouflage since it hides within/on fallen leaves. The color of Darwin’s frog imitates the substrate that it is in. Individuals that are brown can usually be found in brown substrates while green individuals can be found in green substrates.

Apart from its leaf-like appearance, another oddity of the dawn’s frog is the method of brooding. The males carry the eggs in their vocal sacs. Darwin’s frog is the only frog that does that. The Chilean darwin’s frog also has this behavior but may be extinct.

The species is endemic to the austral forest of Argentina and Chile. Most of its range is within Chile. And it is only found tangentially in Argentina. Within Chile, it is found from Río Cuervo in Aysen Province to Concepción.

The species is considered to be endangered and the wild population is severely fragmented and decreasing.

Rhinoderma darwinii lives in leaf litter and forest bogs.

5. Desert Rain Frog

Desert Rain Frog (Breviceps macrops) by Richard
Desert Rain Frog (Breviceps macrops) by Richard
  • Family: Brevicipitidae
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Breviceps macrops
  • Size: 48 mm
  • Lifespan: 4 to 14 years
  • Distribution: southwestern Namibia to Namaqualand coast, South Africa
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Near Threatened
  • Population Trend: Unknown
  • Viability as a Pet: Yes it can be kept as a pet

This is an interesting-looking frog. Many will consider it to be cute. It is spherical with short limbs and large eyes. They are known for their squeaks which at one point became a meme.

They are tiny with a body length of just 4.8 cm. Their feet are spade-like and their toes are webbed. They are yellowish to brown with sand on their skin.

Some interesting characteristics are their inability to hop due to their tiny limbs and their lack of tadpole stage. They emerge from their eggs as frogs.

These can be kept as pets however, they can be difficult to find. You may have to get the Mozambique rain frog which is more common. They can be found in pet shops that specialize in frogs.

6. Glass Frog

Red-spotted Glassfrog (Nymphargus grandisonae)
Red-spotted Glassfrog (Nymphargus grandisonae) – source
  • Family: Centrolenidae 
  • Size: 1.2 to 3 inches (3 to 7.5 cm)
  • Distribution: Central to South America
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered to Least Concern
  • Viability as a Pet: Yes, they can be kept as pets

The glass frog has translucent and transparent abdominal skin which gives the appearance of glass. Their overall skin is also translucent. The glass frog indeed looks like they are green glass ornaments.

Their translucent skin means that their internal organs such as the heart, liver, and other internal viscera can be seen through the skin.

Most of the blood in their body is concealed in their liver. Once they start moving, you can see the blood moving through their body.

Glass frogs can be kept as pets and are quite common in the pet trade.

7. Wallace’s Flying Frog

Wallace’s Flying Frog (Rhacophorus nigropalmatus)
Wallace’s Flying Frog (Rhacophorus nigropalmatus)
  • Family: Rhacophoridae
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Rhacophorus nigropalmatus
  • Size: (15 to 20 mm)
  • Distribution: Southeast Asia
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Least Concern
  • Population Trend: Decreasing
  • Viability as a Pet: Not commonly kept as pets

The flying frog can fly – to be precise it glides. This behavior is facilitated by its large webbed toes. These allow it to parachute from high branches of trees to the forest floor.

It is also brightly colored.

This frog is endemic to southeast Asia.

While these flying frogs are kept as pets, they aren’t easy to find outside of their native range.

8. Tomato frog

Tomato Frog (Dyscophus antongilii)
Tomato Frog (Dyscophus antongilii)
  • Family: Microhylidae
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Dyscophus antongilii
  • Female Size: 230 g, 10.5 cm
  • Male Size: 41 g, 6.5 cm
  • Distribution: Antongil Bay, Madagascar
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Least Concern
  • Population Trend: Decreasing 
  • Viability as a Pet: Commonly kept as pets
  • Where to Buy: https://www.joshsfrogs.com 

This frog is bright tomato red . This coloration gives it its common name. Males are slightly smaller than females. Males are also less brightly colored than females as they are mostly brownish-orange instead of reddish-orange as the females are. The underside of Dyscophus antongilii is white to reddish. There is a black stripe behind the eye.

The species is endemic to northeastern Madagascar. Its geographic range isn’t well documented. It is considered to be of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. on the IUCN Red List, the wild population is decreasing.

The tomato frog is kept as a pet by many who find its coloration and appearance fascinating.

9. Goliath Frog

Goliath Frog (Conraua goliath) on a rock
Goliath Frog (Conraua goliath) on a rock
  • Family: Conrauidae
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Conraua goliath
  • Size: 21.15 to 114.54 oz (600 to 3250 g)
  • Distribution: Monte Alen, Equatorial Guinea to Nkongsamba, Cameroon
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Endangered
  • Population Trend: Decreasing
  • Viability as a Pet: Yes can be kept as a pet

The goliath frog is the biggest frog in the world. This frog can reach a weight of 7.2 pounds. This frog weighs between 600 to 3250 grams (21.15 to 114.54 oz) and reaches a length of 6.7 to 12.6 inches (17 to 32 cm).

You can easily recognize the goliath frog from its huge size which gives it its common name. The goliath frog is wide and has a triangular head. The dorsum is greenish to brown and granular. The underside is lighter in color. The front limbs are snout and short while the hind limbs are much longer. The feet are webbed. They have large eyes as well.

Dyscophus antongilii is endemic to Nkongsamba in southwestern Cameroon to Monter Alen in mainland Equatorial Guinea.

Dyscophus antongilii is endangered. The main threat to the species is the collection for consumption. The collection for the international pet trade also has a negative impact on the wild populations.

10. Gordon’s Warty Frog

Gordon's Warty Frog (Theloderma gordoni)
Gordon’s Warty Frog (Theloderma gordoni) – source
  • Family: Rhacophoridae
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Theloderma gordoni
  • Size: 1 to 3.5 inches
  • Distribution: Southeastern Asia
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Least Concern
  • Population Trend: Decreasing
  • Viability as a Pet: Yes, they can be kept as pets

The warty frog has rough skin which is usually covered in warts. This characteristic makes it easy to identify and gives it an odd appearance. This appearance allows them to imitate a clump of moss in the wild as they hide in water basins.

T. gordoni reaches an adult length of 1 inch to 3.5 inches. Females are generally larger than males. Its hind legs are about twice as long as its front limbs. They have large eyes with round pupils.

T. gordoni is endemic to southeastern Asia – northern Thailand and northern to central Viet Nam.

You can keep these frogs as pets.

11. Hairy frog

Hairy Frog (Trichobatrachus robustus)
Hairy Frog (Trichobatrachus robustus) – source
  • Family: Arthroleptidae
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Trichobatrachus robustus
  • Female Size: 3 to 4.5 inches (8 to 11 cm)
  • Male Size: 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm)
  • Distribution: Southeastern Nigeria to northwestern DR Congo
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Least Concern
  • Population Trend: Decreasing
  • Viability as a Pet: Not commonly kept as pets

The hairy frog is one of the weirdest-looking frogs in the world. What makes them weird is the hairs on their bodies. Not all members of the frog have these hairs. Breeding males are the members of the species that have these hair-like dermal papillae on their thighs and flanks.

These hairs contain arteries that allow the frog to absorb more oxygen. This is necessary as the males stay with the eggs in an aquatic environment after the females lay them.

The hairy frog is endemic to the Osamba Hills in Nigeria to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Within their range, they inhabit mid-altitude rainforests, agricultural habitats such as tea plantations, secondary forests, and fast-moving rivers.

12. Mini mum

Mini mum on a finger tip
Mini mum on a finger tip – source
  • Family: Microhylidae
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Mini mum
  • Size (snout-vent length.): 0.32 to 0.44 inches (8.2 to 11.3 mm)
  • Distribution: Atsimo-Atsinanana, Madagascar
  • Viability as a Pet: Not kept as pets

This is a tiny frog. It is small enough to fit on your fingernails. Its common name is a play on the word minimum. The species has gained popularity due to its interesting name.

The species is brown overall. The underside is dark umber and the back is silvery brown. This tiny frog reaches a snout-to-vent length of 0.32 to 0.44 inches.

This tiny frog is endemic only to the Manombo Special Reserve. Here it lives in an open forest. It lives on the forest floor.

The species lacks a conservation status and hasn’t been evaluated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

13. Morogoro Tree Toad

Robust Viviparous Toad (Nectophrynoides viviparus)
Robust Viviparous Toad (Nectophrynoides viviparus) – source
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Nectophrynoides viviparus
  • Size: 2.4 inches (60 mm)
  • Distribution: Uluguru Mountains, Udzungwa Mountain, and Mount Rungwe, Tanzania 
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Least Concern
  • Population Trend: Decreasing
  • Viability as a Pet: Not kept as pets

This snake has large prominent paratoid glands that give it an interesting appearance. These glands can also be found on the legs. These glands are differently colored which makes them visible. The glands give an appearance of swollen bumps.

Nectophrynoides viviparus comes in several colorations. Individuals can be black with yellow markings. They can also be red, green, or gray.

The species is endemic to the Uluguru Mountains, Udzungwa Mountains, and Mount Rungwe in Tanzania. They are not commonly kept as pets.

14. Red-eyed treefrog

Red-eyed treefrog (Agalychnis callidryas)
Agalychnis caRed-eyed treefrog (Agalychnis callidryas)lidryas
  • Family: Phyllomedusidae
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Agalychnis callidryas
  • Size: 0.21 to 0.53 oz (6 to 15 g)
  • Distribution: Central America
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Least Concern
  • Population Trend: Decreasing
  • Viability as a Pet: Commonly kept as pets

At first glance, you won’t consider this frog to be odd looking as its image is popular. Most of us have seen an image of this frog on TV or in a book about the rainforest. Upon inspection, you’ll realize that this frog doesn’t resemble your typical frog or toad.

The red-eyed treefrog is brightly colored. It has large bulging red eyes. The legs are blue and green. The feet are orange, and the back and face are leaf green. The skin of this frog is smooth.

Juveniles can change their skin color to reflect the time of the day.

These interesting-looking frogs are commonly kept as pets as many find their coloration to be appealing.

15. Shovel-headed Treefrog

Shovel-headed Treefrog (Triprion spatulatus)
Shovel-headed Treefrog (Triprion spatulatus) – source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Triprion spatulatus
  • Size: 3.4 to 4 inches (87 mm to 101 mm)
  • Distribution: Pacific coastal Mexico 
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Least Concern
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Viability as a Pet: Not commonly kept as a pet

This frog has an interesting head. In short, the head resembles a shovel. This interesting head shape gives it the name shovel-headed treefrog. The skin is brown to yellowish tan or pale green with yellow or green markings.

This is a treefrog and is commonly found on trees within tropical deciduous forests, thorn-scrub forests, and xeric forests. These species breed during the rainy season.

The species is endemic to the Pacific coast of Mexico.

The shovel-headed treefrog isn’t normally kept as a pet.

16. South American Common Toad

South American Common Toad (Rhinella margaritifera)
South American Common Toad (Rhinella margaritifera)
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Rhinella margaritifera
  • Distribution: South America
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Least Concern
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Viability as a Pet: Not commonly kept as a pet

Rhinella margaritifera is another frog that mimics the appearance of a leaf in order to remain hidden in plain sight. This appearance gives this species its place on this list. The appearance of this frog isn’t as odd as most of the frogs on this list but it still is an interesting looking amphibian.

It is brown  and has a light color strip that runs down its back.

The species is endemic to the Amazonian Basin in South America. It is also found in Panama, the Guianas, and the Gorgona Island of Colombia.

17. Turtle Frog

Turtle Frog (Myobatrachus gouldii)
Turtle Frog (Myobatrachus gouldii) – source
  • Family: Myobatrachidae
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Myobatrachus gouldii
  • Size: 1.8 inches (45 mm)
  • Distribution: southwestern Australia
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Least Concern
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Viability as a Pet: Not commonly kept as pets

The body shape and mannerisms of this frog resemble that of a turtle. These characteristics give it its common name. It resembles a small turtle with its shell removed. The turtle frog is rotund with short muscular legs which it uses to burrow forward like a turtle, unlike most frogs that burrow backward with their hind legs.

The species lives on sandy soils with termite colonies which it eats.

The turtle frog lives in southwestern Australia.

18. African Clawed Frog

African Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis)
African Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis) – source
  • Family: Pipidae
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Xenopus laevis
  • Size: 2.11 to 7.05 oz (60 to 200 g), 1.97 to 4.72 in (5 to 12 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years in captivity
  • Distribution: southern Africa
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Least Concern
  • Population Trend: Increasing
  • Viability as a Pet: Yes, relatively easy to keep as a pet 

These are called clawed frogs because they have claws, unlike most frogs. They are flattened and dull in color. they can be gray, brown, or olive-gray with a whitish underside.

The species is endemic to Southern Africa.

Clawed frogs can be kept as pets. As pets, they are entirely aquatic and require an aquarium with freshwater.

19. Surinam toad

Surinam toad (Pipa pipa)
Surinam toad (Pipa pipa) – source
  • Family: Pipidae
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Pipa pipa
  • Size: 106 to 154 mm (males), 105 to 171 mm (females)
  • Distribution: South America
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Least Concern
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Viability as a Pet: 

This is an interesting-looking frog at first glance. However, females are known to incubate eggs on their backs in chambers in the skin. This can be seen in the image above and gives them quite a bizarre appearance.

P. pipa is flattened in appearance. They are brown with dark spots on their back.

The species, like many other frogs on this list, is endemic to the Amazon basin of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, and Colombia.

20. Golden poison dart frog

Golden poison dart frog (Phyllobates terribilis)
Golden poison dart frog (Phyllobates terribilis)
  • Family: Dendrobatidae
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Phyllobates terribilis
  • Size: 1.85 to 2.17 inches (4.7 to 5.5 cm), 30 grams
  • Distribution: Río Saija drainage, Cauca Department, Colombia
  • Conservation Status – IUCN Red List: Endangered
  • Population Trend: Decreasing
  • Viability as a Pet: Yes, they can be kept as pets. 

Golden poison dart frogs are very bright in color. They can be white, deep yellow, orange, or even mint green. Their coloration varies from individual to individual. They have dark stripes and spots on their bodies (as juveniles). These dark markings fade as they age. They have an odd protrusion from the mouth that resembles teeth. As you may have already guessed, the golden poison dart frog is extremely toxic and is the most toxic frog species in the world. It is considered the most poisonous animal on earth.

These amphibians are endemic to the Amazonian rainforest of ío Saija drainage, Cauca Department, Colombia. Within the rainforests, they occur in the lowlands which is a humid environment. The golden poison dart frog lives on the forest floor.

The golden poison dart frogs are kept as pets. Captive golden poison dart frogs aren’t toxic as they are not fed their natural food sources.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cutest frog?

This is up for debate and depends on the individual. The cutest frog to me is the red-eyed treefrog. This frog is brightly colored. It has large bulging red eyes. The legs are blue and green. The feet are orange, and the back and face are leaf green. The skin of this frog is smooth.

This frog is commonly kept as a pet.

What is the rarest type of frog?

This can be difficult to determine as there are several rare frogs. There are about 600 critically endangered frogs and about 1600 endangered frogs. All of these frogs are very rare. Two of the rarest frogs include the Wyoming Toad (Anaxyrus baxteri) and Kihansi Spray Toad (Nectophrynoides asperginis).

What frog screams at night?

Several frogs make loud noises at night. Some frogs that scream in the night include bleating treefrogs, poison dart frogs, bullfrogs, and the desert rain frog.

Is the Goliath frog real?

The massive size of the Goliath frog is unbelievable but this frog does exist. This massive frog can weigh as much as 7.2 pounds. Sadly, they are collected for human consumption.

Conclusion

There are over 6000 frog species in the world and while most of them look typical there are many weird ones. Some such as the desert rain frog and the purple frog do not even resemble frogs. Some such as the Mini mum can fit on your fingernail. The tomato frog resembles a tomato and is as brightly colored as one. Frogs refer to species of the order Anura. Toads are also frogs. There is no scientific or taxonomic difference between toads and frogs. Toads generally refer to frogs with warty skin.

Which of the frogs listed here are your favorites? Also, which frogs do you think should have made this list?

More Frog guides

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