If there is, one type of animal found in plenty in rainforests it is the frog. A type of amphibian, there are many different frog and toad species that inhabit the many streams and creeks in these forests. Other amphibians commonly found in rainforests are salamanders, newts, and worm-like caecilians.
Frogs are among the oldest species on earth, and are extremely adaptable to live in almost any habitat, except Antarctica.
These amphibians do not have claws or scales, and their skin is quite moist. They also undergo a transformation from being born with gills to eventually developing lungs, a process called ‘metamorphosis.
The rainforest is home to some of the world’s most attractive frogs. Some of them are, the poison dart frog (blue jeans frog), Ranitomeya amazonica (a type of poison dart frog), tree frogs (red-eyed tree frogs), harlequin frogs, Tiger frogs, Venezuelan glass frog, and goliath frogs. All of these frogs have different adaptive mechanisms that allow them to thrive in their environment.
One of the main reasons that there are so many frogs in the rainforest is that its temperature and habit keep the frogs’ permeable skin moist throughout year. This texture and moisture content is important to the animal’s survival.
Frogs are great at escaping predators. Many of the rainforest frogs are brightly colored, except for a few species like the Venezuelan glass frog.
The red-eyed tree frog for instance has bright green bodies, and sparkling bright red eyes. It uses these to distract and scare predators, such as snakes. Along with its red eyes, it uses its yellow and blue flanks in a technique called ‘startle coloration’, which disorients its predator. All these bright colors literally overwhelm predators, often over-stimulating their vision.
The poison dart frog is another rainforest amphibian whose bright red head, dark body, and bright blue feet make it appear attractive, but in reality, it is an attractively deadly frog. These bright colors are a warning to predators, that should they eat these frogs, it is the end.
Most predators in rainforests know that brightly colored frogs are poisonous. Some frogs like the red-eyed tree frog can also change its colors depending on its mood. It changes from a light lime green to a darker green.
Most rainforest frogs also have special footpads that look like cups, which stick onto leaves. This gives these creatures a huge advantage to access insects that live high up in the canopy.
The Malagasy Rainbow Frog for example uses the claws on its forefeet to cling to vertical canyon walls to escape both predators and floods. These frogs are also great at burrowing, and can live up to 10 months underground.
Another adaptation of these slimy amphibians is their poisonous nature. Some of them are the poison dart frog, and the golden poison arrow frog. The latter’s venom is fatal for humans.
The poison dart frog got its name because the ancient Amerindian tribes that used to live close to the amphibian’s habitat used to dip their arrows in its poison. These arrows remain lethal for up to 2 years.
Other adaptations of frogs like the Venezuelen Glass Frog are its ability to blend in extremely well with its surroundings because it looks translucent.
The Tiger frog was a relatively recent discovery. This frog is not believed to be toxic, although looking at it, you would think so. Its adaptation is that it its bright yellow and black stripes imitate other poisonous animals to chase predators away.
The Goliath Frog, as its name suggests is huge, weighing about 7 lbs, as much as a newborn baby does! These amphibians greenish brown and use this color to their advantage; making wet moss covered rocks their home.
The Wood Frog also has a similar adaptation. They are also great at blending in, but on the ground and into rocks and fallen leaves. They are brown with tinges of light brown spots.
These frogs have another great adaptation that helps them stay through the winter. They literally freeze up, their blood stops flowing, and the lungs, heart, and muscles stop too. Ice fills their body’s cavity and they only begin to thaw during spring. Until then, they sleep through the winter burrowed under a leaf.