A video showing close-up footage of a puffed-up Cape Rain Frog screaming in Tokai Forest in the Western Cape, South Africa, has gone viral… with the uploader of the video describing it as “hilarious footage” and many being very amused.
But it turns out – according to experts – that the “bizarre shrieking noise” clearly shows the frog is in distress. Or does it?
According to information on the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s (SANBI) website: “Cape rain frogs start calling in winter just before the rains start. They produce a harsh squawking sound with short intervals during mating season. The males will call from beneath vegetation or from their burrows to indicate to females where they are.”
Watch Video of Screaming Cape Rain Frog
The National Geographic reports that Simon Van Nierop, who captured the video, said he and his children were out walking the dogs when they heard the screams… and followed the sound till they found the yellow and black frog which was making it. So the frog was already screaming beforehand, perhaps to attract females.
However, the fact that the frog is blown up in the video does indicate that at the point the footage was filmed, the frog was scared or angry (even though the dogs are being restrained, there is that threatening purple umbrella!). According to SANBI, these animals inflate their bodies into a ball when they’re alarmed or feel threatened… hence their Afrikaans name “blaasoppie“.
The Cape Rain Frog’s conservation status is Near Threatened, and they are seldom seen because they spend most of their lives underground, except during and after heavy rains.
According to SANBI, some people consider them to be indications of good luck.