An image went viral in 2013 showing a man holding a massive frog in his hand, with a caption that this is the world’s largest frog. Today we’ll take a closer look at the image.
The frog shown in the photo is a goliath frog. The American Museum of Natural History confirms its “largest” status, noting, “The world’s largest frog is the goliath frog of West Africa–it can grow to 15 inches and weigh up to 7 pounds.”
The San Diego Zoo points out that, while they start out as normal-sized tadpoles, goliath frogs grow to the size of “some house cats.” Most of their growth occurs in the first 75 to 90 days of development. These massive frogs can live up to 15 years in the wild.
They are notable for their flat wide bodies and triangular head. The typical Goliath has greenish brown skin on their backs (dorsal skin), while their undersides (ventral skin) is a yellowish green.
Although these frogs are considered mute, the male frogs are able to produce a mating call by opening their mouths to make a whistling noise.
Goliath frogs are native to rain forests in western Africa. They are coveted as pets – and as food in some areas – due to their massive size.
A popular image circulated online of a goliath frog is shown above. It’s unclear of the origin of this image, although it can be found on websites dating back to at least 2007. While it is possible that this particular image uses forced perspective (which in this case would mean holding the frog closer to the camera in order to make it appear larger), based on the other images we’ve found of the goliath frog, it seems to be a relatively accurate depiction.
Note for those questioning what’s “wrong” with the man’s hand in this image, he is actually holding his hand palm-up.
The short video below summarizes the goliath frog.
The goliath frog’s population has decreased by 50% in just three generations, and it is listed as an endangered species. Reasons for its rapid decline are being hunted as food and a reduction of forest habitat due to human settlement.
Below are some additional images of the goliath frog, all of which demonstrate its massive size.
Photos of the goliath frog are real. The endangered frog from West Africa is considered the world’s largest frog, which can weigh up to 7 pounds.
Updated January 23, 2016
Originally published February 2013