Episode 274 – Common Rain Frog: Stuck Like Glue

“…and today we’re talking about a frog that sticks to its plans. But more on that later.”

For most creatures, finding a mate is a top priority–up there with getting a good meal. But the common rain frog is a funny shape that makes the mating season a bit awkward–and that shape is round. How can a pair of balloons come together to make smaller balloons? How can you hold your loved ones tight when you’ve got tiny little arms? Sometimes, sticking together is the best strategy in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Description of the Rain Frog

  • Looks like an angry stress ball
  • Round ball-like body with thick, short, stumpy legs
  • Mottled brown patterns on the back
  • Outward-facing eyes that stick up and out from the top of its head
  • A decisive and disappointed frown that makes this guy a permanent curmudgeon

Measure Up

Welcome to the beloved Measure Up segment. The official listener’s favorite part of the show! The part of the show when we present the animal’s size and dimension in relatable terms through a quiz that’s fun for the whole family. It’s also the part of the show that’s introduced by you when you send in audio of yourself saying, singing, or chittering the words Measure Up into ldtaxonomy at gmail dot com. We don’t have a new Measure Up intro!


  • 1½ to 2¼ inches long (3 to 6 centimeters)
  • How many rain frogs go into the length of Beelzebufo?
  • Hint: Beelzebufo is perhaps the largest frog to ever exist, and is also called the devil frog for its horn-like eye ridges. 
  • 6.7 rain frogs. Some studies suggest the frog could have grown to 16 inches long and weighed 10 pounds. Though more modern studies put it at a more modest 9 inches, like a modern day African bullfrog.

Burrow Depth

  • 20 inches
  • How many burrow depths go into the depth of the beach borrow a Virginia man died in when it collapsed in 2014.
  • Hint: The man was attempting to tunnel between two holes when his tunnel collapsed, burying him alive. Turns out, people have died in simpler sand holes on the beach. Digging deep holes at the beach is fun, until the tide comes in or the sand walls collapse. Holes on the beach can also hinder emergency vehicles, trap sea turtles seeking the sea, and twist ankles. Remember kids, don’t dig deeper than your shortest friend is tall and always fill in holes before you leave. 
  • 3.6 rain frog burrows. The deadly tunnel was six feet deep. 

Fast Facts about the Rain Frog

  • Range: Southern Africa north of the Kalahari. Botswana, Zimbabwe, Sambia, Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, South Africa
    • They like forests and grasslands
  • Diet: insects – termites and caterpillars
  • Behavior:
    • Doesn’t hop as much as it walks around
    • Spends most of its time around 2 feet underground in burrows
    • If threatened, it will inflate like a puffer fish and lodge itself in the burrow
    • Actually skips the tadpole stage. Eggs hatch directly into froglets since they don’t hatch underwater or right above water like most frogs
    • When they hunt, they will scoop up those field critters and bop them on the head in an action called “dapping”

Major Fact: Stuck Like Glue

Frogs females are sometimes bigger than frog males, but they still like to be the little spoon. 

When frogs mate the males latch onto the backs of the females in order to avoid just rolling away in the heat of passion.

But the rain frog females have bodies that make the typical spooning procedure a bit more difficult. Why? Because they are round. 

Not just round like a lot of frogs are–round like an actual balloon. Males, though smaller, are fairly round themselves, with short stubby legs. They just can’t reach far enough to get any leverage on their rotund frog wives.

Instead, they adhere to a different principle during copulation. They glue themselves to her.

To be more accurate, the pair both glue themselves to one another, according to researchers in Japan.

Males secrete a sticky substance from their chest and arms, while females secrete the same goo glue on their backs. The bond is about as strong as a good piece of velcro, and it only starts to lose its adhesive power after a few days. 

In some cases, frogs stay stuck together for months during the egg laying season. 

Ending: So lodge yourself in your tunnels, dap some slimy and satisfying bugs, and stick with your spouse through thick and thin like the rain frog here in LDT