May 28th, 2008


Trichobatrachus robustus - The Hairy Frog and his bone-breaking claws of doom

This is a trichobatrachus robustus, or "hairy frog":

Check out mah sideburnz

Is the WTF aspect of this frog that he is hairy?

No. (Well, maybe a little -- those hairlike strands of skin and artery are thought to help them take in more oxygen while they're caring for their babies.)

What makes Mr Hairy Frog WTF is that, when threatened, he is capable of BREAKING HIS OWN BONES IN ORDER TO PUNCH CLAWS THROUGH HIS SKIN.

Detail pics of claws below cut:

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Apparently there are other clawed frogs out there (with their claws more resembling those of a cat), but the Hairy Frog's claws and method of deploying and retracting them appear to be rather unique.

In Cameroon, where humans eat the frogs roasted, they're hunted with spears and machetes to avoid getting spiked. Understandable.

Hairy Frog has requested that he be played in the movie of his life by Hugh Jackman.

So so cute!

"How do you define tool use? I came across the little octopus on a night dive. He was walking around carrying two halves of a shell with him. When threatened, he closed himself up inside the shell. Now many animals, like the hermit crab, adopt a shell for protection but in this case the octopus carried around two sides that he knew fit together. That comes close to tool use in my book.

An Ocean World Podcast about the Blanket Octopus provides an even better case of tool use. The Blanket Octopus is famous for sexual dimorphism, the male being much smaller (2cm) than the female (6ft). But the really cool thing, in my opinion, is the way the tiny male uses jellyfish tentacles. Apparently he gathers the living stinging tentacles from jelly fish, holds them between his suckers, and wields them when threatened."

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