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Where there is water there are frogs. Members in Bungalow # 197 brought to my attention these tiny Marbled Snout-burrower frogs (Hemisus marmoratus) occasionally found in the swimming pool.

Hemisus marmoratus has two common names, Marbled Snout-burrower and Mottled Shovel-nosed Frog. It is wide spread in central and southern Africa and can survive in a wide range of habitats from subtropical to dry savanna.

The front toes are without webs, their bodies are very rounded and somewhat flattened, but in the pictures above the frogs have “inflated” themselves to look larger, a defence mechanism. The pupils are vertical. The snout has a hard, pointed ending, giving rise to the description of its common name. There is a short channel type groove on top of the head, found between the eyes.

The shovel nose is used for digging as these frogs prefer to be underground. It is for this reason they are not often seen. Only when the rains come do they emerge to feed and mate. Eggs are laid underground, mating also takes place underground. Females stay underground after mating to protect their eggs.

Diet consists mostly of insects.

Threats to these frogs are loss of habitat through harvesting of plants and trees in their habitat and the introduction on non-endemic fish which feed on the frogs.

R1 coin for size comparison


by John Llewellyn
(Frog pictures courtesy Chris Thorpe)