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THE AFRICAN BULLFROG: A DELIGHTFUL COMPONENT OF A DIET

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THE AFRICAN BULLFROG: A DELIGHTFUL COMPONENT OF A DIET

By: S.A. Makubung, Herpetology Department, DITSONG: National Museum of Natural History

 

African Giant Bullfrog (also known as Letlametlo).
Family: Pyxicephlidae
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Genus: Pyxicephalus
Species: adsperus

 

African or /Giant Bullfrog (Source: https://www.everythingreptiles.com/pixie-frog/).

The African Bullfrog, also known as the Giant Bullfrog or South African Burrowing frog, is a species of frogs in the family Pyxicephalidae. It is also known as pixie frog due to its scientific name. African Bullfrogs are the largest frogs in southern Africa. Their natural habitat is moist to dry savanna, subtropical to tropical shrubland, intermittent freshwater lakes, intermittent freshwater marshes, arable land, pastureland, canals, and flooded ditches. African bullfrogs spend most of the year buried underground in a cocoon made from its skin cells until the start of the raining season when they come out to breed.

The African Bullfrog is an exquisite food source with a taste similar to chicken. By including it into the diet it contributes to poverty alleviation in areas such as the Limpopo Province. It is consumed by communities in or around Moletji, Mmalebogo or Senwabarwana and even farther north in the Limpopo Province. Its conservation status now is least concern but the population is decreasing because of harvesting for consumption by people in the communities and loss of habitat.

It is interesting to know that it is not easy to prepare this frog for a meal like cooking other meals. It requires extra effort when preparing it because one first must clean it, put it in a pot and then fasten the lid tightly to the pot with a wire. It is then cooked over a wood fire and not on a gas or electric stove. Once the frog meat starts to boil it expands more than any other meat you can think of, hence one needs to tighten the lid so that it cannot be blown-up by the expansion until it is well cooked and ready to be eaten.

The African bullfrog is a voracious carnivore. Its diet includes reptiles, birds, small rodents, and other amphibians, since its large mouth also allows it to eat them. It is not yet known whether the gases that cause its expansion when being cooked are derived from its diet or if it is a natural occurrence.

Since this article focuses on the biology of the African Giant Bullfrog and its uses, it is also equally vital to pay attention to various challenges that the species face in its ecological environment, in particular overharvesting or exploitation for food supply. It is important that public awareness programmes be developed, in order to address the future negative implications that may occur due to overharvesting by communities. This might ultimately lead to their extinction in the future, which will have a devastating effect on this species and the environment.

 

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