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Frogs have been on Earth for more than 200 million years, and range in size from half an inch (the Cuban tree toad) to the much larger goliath frog of West Africa, which can grow to 15 inches and weigh up to 7 pounds. Not only do they come in different sizes, but there is a vast array of colors and shapes. The Budgett's frog, with a body that is shaped like a flat, round pillow and a mouth that reaches almost from front leg to front leg, is truly an odd-looking animal—almost like something from another world! Its head is extremely wide and has no noticeable neck to tell where the head ends and the back begins. It has two cream-colored eyes with round pupils and are set close together on top of its flat head with two nostrils below on a rounded snout.
Compared to its body, they have short limbs, which do not make them particularly efficient swimmers. The toes on its front feet are unwebbed, but those on the rear feet have webs almost to the tips. Each hind foot also has a large, black, shovel-like bump, or tubercle that the frog uses for burrowing. Budgett's frogs have an olive brown to gray back with dark blotches or pale streaks. Its underside is white and adults usually grow to be 4.5 to 5 inches long from snout to rump.
They do not have teeth, but they do have two sharp protrusions inside their large mouth which serve the same purpose. Also known as the "Freddy Kruger" frog, when frightened, it opens its huge mouth, screams like a cat in pain and lunges toward an aggressor. It has even been known to bite when cornered by a human or predator and is capable of drawing blood!
They will consume just about any other creature which happens by that fits into their mouth, including small mammals, fish, other frogs, and invertebrates. They are found naturally on the ground near permanent or seasonal bodies of water in Paraguay, northern Argentina, and southeastern Bolivia and are fairly sedentary creatures. They are only semi-aquatic and spend most of their time sitting in one spot of moist soil or moss, relying on their camouflage to protect them.
During most of the year, Budgett's frog stays underground but in breeding season, however, it comes on land and moves into shallow pools of water. They breed in seasonal pools and sometimes even in water tanks on cattle farms. Females can lay up to 1, 200 eggs which hatch within two days of being laid. The tadpoles feed on each other and they swallow their siblings whole. The breeding season is short, and the larvae develop quickly to be able to leave their water sources which dry up in the dry season.
Budgett's frog's life cycle is tied to the weather. During the long, dry season, it remains underground in burrows, but during the rainy season, it climbs onto land and into the water, where it will mate and eat a year's worth of food. After the rains end and the land begins to dry up, the frog starts digging, using its shovel-like tubercles to burrow backward into the mud on the bottom of its one-time watering hole. When it is well underground, it stops digging and sheds the outer layer of its skin. It sheds several times, and each time, the peeled-off skin piles up around the frog's body, forming a coat, or cocoon, of dead skin. This cocoon, which is waterproof, helps the frog stay moist inside. Without it, the surrounding dirt would soon soak up the frog's moisture and dry out and kill the animal. The frog stays in its protective cocoon for about nine months when the spring rains come and wet the land again. As the water soaks the soil, the cocoon softens, and the frog crawls out of its burrow, dragging the cocoon around its body.
Before doing much else, it eats its cocoon. The frog is then active for about three months— November, December, and January, which are spring and summer months in South America.
People rarely see these frogs in the wild. The IUCN does not consider this species to be at risk, but its populations in Argentina have begun to disappear. Scientists are unsure why.
http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/frogs/gallery/featured.php?image=12&page=featured/bigbark#cap http://www.aqua.org/frogs/choir_budgettsfrog.html http://scout.wisc.edu/Reports/ScoutReport/2004/scout-040820-re.php ; http://animals.jrank.org/pages/115/Leptodactylid-Frogs-Leptodactylidae-BUDGETT-S-FROG-Lepidobatrachus-laevis-SPECIES-ACCOUNTS.html http://www.geocities.com/thatfrogguy/Spud.html http://www.riversidereptiles.com/wst_page3.html http://www.toadilytoads.com/museum_frogshow.html