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22 Purple Frog Facts: Nature’s Lumpy Doughnut

Want to learn about purple pig-nosed frogs? Well, welcome to the funny farm, my friend. This slimy, lumpy, grayish-purple frog, dubbed “doughnut frog” is a freak of nature. How is it even real? In this post, you'll learn about this guy's diet, habitat, lifespan, and more.

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Frogs have such a wide variety of colors and shapes that we wouldn’t be surprised to find one in every color of the rainbow. A relatively new species of frog, discovered in 2003, boasts a unique color not found anywhere else in the frog family. Let’s take a look at this unique animal.

22 Purple Frog Facts

The Purple Pig Nose Frog has a…. unique color and face. It’s one of the most recently discovered species of frog and could be facing dangers due to human activity and habitat destruction. Let’s learn a little more about this unique frog.

1. Is there such a thing as a purple frog?

Yes, believe it or not, the purple frog is real. But the “purple” may not be the color you think.

It’s not a bright purple, it's more of an earthy purple color that’s unique to a species known for wide-ranging colors. The color is varied from dark across the back to an almost light brown on the stomach and feet.

Any of those photos you might see of bright purple poison frogs are not real; just someone that got a little too happy with photoshop.

Check out more weird animals that are real!

2. What does the purple frog look like?

The frog lives most of its life underground, so it has very unusual features. In addition to the purple hue, the frog has a unique pointed nose, resembling a mole more than a frog. It also has a round, lumpy, and somewhat disproportionate body.

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The frog is well suited to living underground. It has much shorter legs with tough claws that make it easier for the frog to dig through loose soil it calls home. Its skeleton and front skull are harder than the average frog to account for the weight of the soil.

Their eyes are small, and they mostly use them when above ground for the first few weeks.

The tadpoles have sucker mouthparts. They’re able to attach to surfaces and feed on small bacteria until mature enough to move on their own. The juveniles resemble mature adults and prepare to move underground.

3. How big is a purple frog?

Even though it’s fatter than the typical frog, it’s only about 7 centimeters long from snout to hind end. The official range is 6 to 9 centimeters.

It’s small enough to burrow underground and spend most of its time there except during monsoon and mating seasons.

4. How much does a purple frog weigh?

It weighs 165 grams which is a little over the weight of a baseball. This bulk is supported on unique feet that allow them to burrow underground and spend most of their time there.

5. How did the purple pig-nosed frog get its name?

It got its name from its distinctive purple hue. Its secondary name derives from its unique pointed snout that’s better suited to slurping up ants and termites underground than catching flies in the air.

6. What is the purple frogs Latin name?

It’s officially known by the Latin name Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis. It’s derived from a Latinized form of Sanskrit from the area where it calls home and the Sanskrit word for “nose.”

7. What other names does the purple frog have?

Other names include Indian purple frog, pig-nosed frog, and my personal favorite: doughnut frog. The frog also has quite a few local Sanskrit names.

8. When was the purple frog discovered?

It was officially “discovered” in 2003 even though the original paper glossed over several records from much earlier.

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The frog was well known to the locals and local scientific community for years before the international community made a formal record. Interestingly, the tadpole form was internationally accepted knowledge for almost 100 years before its adult form. It's a bit of a messed up chicken-or-egg thing.

9. Who discovered the purple frog?

S.D. Biju and Franky Bossuyt have official credit for discovering and logging the new species in a 2003 paper detailing species from the region.

The subject of who discovered it is debatable considering the international scientific community seemingly ignores local mentions for many years.

10. Are purple frogs aggressive?

The purple pig-nosed frog is not aggressive, preferring to spend its life underground and hidden away.

11. Is the purple frog poisonous?

No, the purple frog is not poisonous. In fact, local communities regularly harvest the frog for food.

12. What eats a purple frog? Predators and Threats

Awkwardly, we do. People eat purple pig-nosed frogs and this could be significantly damaging the frog population.

Humans are also dangerous predators because they destroy the forests and mess up the local ecosystems.

Heavy rains are a critical part of the lifecycle of the frog, so lack of rainfall and droughts can cause population declines because of egg laying. Also, disruption of the natural pools that form during monsoon season could also contribute to reductions in population numbers.

13. Is the purple frog endangered?

Yes, purple frogs are endangered. Their habitat is very narrow, and deforestation has disrupted many of the frog’s natural areas. Researchers are currently keeping an eye on the natural numbers to make sure that they don’t continue to decline.

14. Why are purple frogs endangered?

Most of the issue is due to human activity. Dams, farming, and deforestation have changed the natural areas of their habitats, compacted the soil, and created drier conditions than what the frog is used to.

Locals eat the frog, believing it to have medicinal purposes, and human activities can also disrupt the natural mating cycle which happens only once a year. Intensified grazing can also disturb the soil composition, making it harder for them to move about and catch prey.

15. What do purple frogs eat?

Termites and ants are their main food source. They can suck up the insects a lot like an anteater or mole and survive without having to come to the surface at all.

16. Do purple frogs mate for life?

The frogs don’t mate for life. Once a season, a male frog hitches a ride to the surface on the female’s back. She transports him to the fertilization site where she can deposit as many as 3800 eggs at a time.

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The male fertilizes them, and they return underground where they’ll remain for the rest of the year. Eggs hatch and attach themselves to the rocks. The cycle repeats again the following year.

 

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17. Are purple frogs loud?

They have a very distinct sound, much different than a standard frog. Many people describe it as a clucking sound like a chicken.

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It’s pretty loud and very distinctive. Most people are readily able to identify the sound of these frogs when they’re above ground for mating purposes. They may also use their sounds to help with mating when the time comes.

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Just after the rainy season when small pools have formed, males emerge from underground to make their distinctive call. When females answer, they begin the mating ritual.

18. Do purple frogs carry disease?

They don’t carry any known diseases. But, as with any animal, there’s always a potential for parasites.

19. Where does the purple frog live?

The frogs live in a particular area in India, mainly the Western Ghats mountains. It can be hard to establish an exact habitat because the frog lives underground.

Many times, it has been uncovered in areas where the habitat is destroyed, including plantation areas, mining, and rerouted dams.

20. What is the habitat of the purple frog?

Lots and lots of dirt! The frog requires loose soil so that it can move throughout to catch prey. It’s been found as much as three to six feet underground!

The tadpoles are well adapted to torrents caused by rain and they have sucker-like mouthparts that can cling to steep, wet surfaces. The frogs themselves have characteristics of other burrowing frogs and animals with a well-calcified skeleton and skull.

They also need loose canopy cover for mating seasons, and the tadpoles require the pools left behind by the torrential rainy season.

21. Where can I see the purple frog?

The best place to see the frog is just after the rainy season in the area of the Western Ghats mountains in India. You may be able to find the frog in local (Southern Indian) zoos or on display in Natural History Museums, but for the most part, this species is still relatively new.

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We don't’ know very much about how it eats or mates or lives, so we’re still studying. We aren’t even sure how many actually appear in the wild because their underground lifestyle makes it difficult to estimate.

Bulbously Beautiful

The purple frog is an excellent example of when science catches up to local legend. What did you learn about these little weirdos? Still have questions? Leave them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer!

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More about Drew

Drew Haines

Drew Haines is an animal enthusiast who enjoys travel and photography. She graduated high school at sixteen and started her own business, Everywhere Wild.

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