|Desert Rain Frog|
|Range||Namibia and South Africa|
The desert rain frog is a small, plump species with bulging eyes, a short snout, short limbs, spade-like feet and webbed toes. On the underside it has a transparent area of skin through which its internal organs can be seen. Its colour is yellowish-brown and it often has sand adhering to its skin.
Distribution and Habitat
The desert rain frog is endemic to a coastal strip of land about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) wide in Namibia and South Africa. This area of sand dunes often has sea fog rolling in which supplies some moisture in an otherwise arid region. There is some xerophytic vegetation in the area and in the spring, the desert blooms. The locations in which this frog is found have at least one hundred foggy days per year.
The desert rain frog is nocturnal, spending the day in a burrow which it has dug to a depth of 10 to 20 centimetres (3.9 to 7.9 in) where the sand is moist. It emerges on both foggy and clear nights and wanders about over the surface of the dunes. Its footprints are distinctive and are often found around patches of dung where it is presumed to feed on moths, beetles and insect larvae. It digs its way into the sand in the morning and its presence in a locality can be deduced from the little pile of loose sand dislodged by its burrowing activities. Breeding is by direct development of eggs laid in its burrow and there is no aqueous tadpole stage.
The desert rain frog is listed as "Vulnerable" in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Its total range is smaller than 2,000 square kilometres (770 sq mi) and is fragmented and the number of individual frogs seems to be decreasing. It is threatened by habitat loss caused by opencast diamond mining, road making and increased human settlement.
In Popular Culture
On February 13, 2013 amateur photographer Dean Boshoff captured video of a desert rain frog vocalizing with a series of high‑pitched squeaks, described by the author as the frog's "fearsome war cry"; viewers compared the frog to a squeaky toy. Boshoff distributed the video under the title 'Worlds Cutest Frog - Desert Rain Frog'. As of May, 2015, the video has received over 12 million views on YouTube; the video was also the subject of a featurette on CNN.