It’s possible you’ve seen the desert rain frog before; a video of the ridiculously endearing, squeaky-toy of a frog made the rounds last year and has garnered nearly 10 million views thus far. But for those of you who’ve never had the pleasure of beholding this sand-dwelling ball of cuteness, allow us to introduce you.
The desert rain frog (Breviceps macrops) is remarkable for several things, aside from seeming to have been plucked directly out of central casting for Pokémon.
Native to the Namaqualand coast of South Africa and coastal south-western Namibia, the nocturnal frogs spend most of the day buried in sand dunes. They have flanges on their back feet that act as little diggers to more easily navigate their coastal terrain. The small strip of the world that they inhabit is prone to sea fog, which keeps the sand moist in an otherwise arid region. They have a patch on their bellies that is not only transparent, but has numerous blood vessels and capillaries through which they can absorb water from the sand.
Yet for all its animated cuteness, it’s the desert rain frog’s ferocious roar that really sets it apart. While every frog species has a unique call, B. macrops goes all out in defending its turf, as wildlife photographer Dean Boshoff bravely discovered when shooting at the dunes along Port Nolloth in the Northern Cape province.
Watch the desert rain frog and his fierce defensive cry in Boshoff’s video below.
And yes, it occurs to us that this guy is squeaking so enthusiastically because he is probably not too happy about the giant Homo sapiens and his mysterious camera-weapon leering so closely. But given that the sweet creatures are currently listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species – the main threat being habitat loss – it’s our hope that by spreading the cuteness, more fans and advocates will step up to the plate and help save the world’s cutest amphibian.
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