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Goliath Frog 101: Discovering the World’s Largest Frog

Goliath Frog

Goliath frogs are the largest of all the frog species on the planet, hence their name Goliath. An adult can reach a maximum of 12 inches in length and weigh as heavy as 7+ pounds.

Their tadpoles, on the other hand, are the same size as most of the other adult frog species.

Native to West and Central Africa forests, these massive amphibians are easily recognized by distinct physical characteristics such as a wide head, a wide mouth, and a flattened body.

Unfortunately, the giant slippery frogs’ population in their natural habitats is on the decline due to threats such as overhunting for food, pet trade, and habitat loss.

This calls for the need to study these animals and better understand them and come up with more effective conservation strategies to save their populations

The following article will comprehensively cover all the important details you need to know about Goliath frogs, including their physical characteristics, habitat, behavior, diet, conservation status, and other interesting facts about Goliath frogs

Whether you are an animal enthusiast, researcher, or student, you will find the info in this guide helpful.

Species name:

  • Common name: Goliath frog, Giant slippery frog, Goliath bullfrog
  • Scientific name: Conraua goliath


  • Family: Conrauidae
  • Genus: Conraua
  • Species: Conraua goliath

Physical Characteristics

Goliath frogs are the King Frogs—they are the largest frog species on the planet! The adult male can grow to a maximum size of over 12 inches (keep in mind that females usually grow larger than males) and weigh as heavily as 7.17 pounds.

Goliath Frog Physical Characteristics

Unique physical characteristics:

Like most of the other frogs, goliath frogs come with several distinct physical characteristics that make them truly unique.

They feature a flattened and wide body on top of a triangular head. Their hind legs appear longer while their front legs are stout and shorter. Their eyes have a diameter of approx. 2.5 cm.

Note that these frogs have webbed feet, an adaption that enables them to swim in fast-moving waters.

Coloration and markings:

The upper side of these frogs usually has brownish-green coloration with some spots while the ventral side can be yellow-orange or yellow-green. This unique coloration enables the frogs to camouflage themselves in their natural habitat. Their skin appears bumpy and has glands that the frogs use to take in water as well as oxygen.

Unique adaptations:

Goliath frogs have developed some unique morphological adaptations that enable them to survive in their natural habitats as outlined below

  • They have flat and wide body shapes that enable them to easily glide through the waters.
  • Goliath frogs also feature strong legs to enable them to swim or jump.
  • With their larger mouths, Goliath frogs usually have an easy time catching prey such as crustaceans, small fish, etc.
  • The frogs are capable of making jumps or leaping forward up to 10ft, enabling them to easily escape predation.

Habitat and Behavior

Goliath frogs are native to the dense and humid rainforest ecosystems of West and Central Africa. As for the geographical distribution, these giant frogs are mostly found in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.

Goliath Frog Habitat and Behavior

Goliath frogs prefer an aquatic lifestyle

The frogs are mainly found in fast-flowing waters such as rivers or streams with sandy bottoms. This is because an aquatic habitat provides them with a breeding and hunting environment while giving them suitable shelter against predators.

You will mostly find these frogs in lower altitudes of below 1,000 m (3280 ft.).

Their strong, webbed feet make them excellent swimmers that easily navigate through the rushing waters. They are also able to hold their breaths for extended periods of time, so staying underwater for hours isn’t a problem for them.

Rainforest ecosystems where these animals live are known for their rich biodiversity. As such, they are sure to provide the Goliath frog species with a wide range of food sources.

Nocturnal behavior:

You should keep in mind that Goliath frogs are nocturnal animals that are only active at night. You’ll find them jumping along riverbanks at night foraging for food.

During daytime, they hide underwater, along riverbanks, or under vegetation to avoid predation. Their skin colorations blend perfectly well with their surroundings, perfectly camouflaging them against these frogs.

Their young ones will spend most of their time in the waters during the day, only making their head partially visible on the water surface.

As for their older relatives, they may climb onto the rocks to bask in the sun. However, they will frequently go back to the rivers to make themselves moist.

Other notable Goliath frog behaviors:

Adult goliath frogs also tend to display territorial behavior, especially during the mating season. It is not uncommon to see males wrestling as they try to establish dominance.

Another surprising behavior about these frogs is their ability to build their nests using heavy rocks (up to 2kgs heavy). They can shift these rocks on their own. The heavy lifting may explain why these frogs may have evolved to be the largest of all frog species. (Source).

Goliath frogs are solitary.

Despite their gigantic sizes, they can leap up to 10x their body sizes.

Breeding and mating behavior

Scientists have also extensively studied the breeding and mating behavior of goliath frogs and it is quite fascinating.

Before the mating happens, the male frog builds nests near the riverbanks for his offspring by using large and heavy rocks, weighing up to 2kgs!

The male then makes a call to attract females for mating. This call is different from that of other frogs; it sounds like a whistling sound and it does it with its mouth wide open.

Goliath Frog Breeding and mating behavior

The reason for this difference in calls is that the male does not have a vocal sac like the other frog species. (Source).

After successful mating, the female will lay serval hundred eggs per clutch. Each egg is around 3.5mm in diameter. The eggs are then attached to aquatic vegetation at the bottom of streams or rivers.

Young ones of Goliath frogs:

The eggs eventually hatch into tadpoles, which grow to around 5cm in length after approx. 75 to 90 days. Like other amphibians, goliath frogs do not make any parental investments in their young ones after the eggs are laid.

Unfortunately, these species of frogs are quite elusive and there is little info available on when these frogs reach sexual maturity. In addition, little is known about the frequency and seasonality of their breeding.

Diet and Feeding

In the wild, adult Goliath frog diet consists of a variety of prey food items including insects, small fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and small mammals.

They have also been observed eating other amphibians including salamanders, newts, and smaller frogs.

The Goliath frog tadpoles are however, vegetarians who usually feed on aquatic plants—they have a specific preference for the Dicraea warmingii plant, which occurs near streams and waterfalls.

Goliaths make advantage of their powerful jumps to pounce on their prey. Their aquatic adaptations like webbed feed also enable them to swim to their prey easily.

Overall, these frogs are known to eat any prey that is half their size, making them true apex predators in their habitats.

Feeding in captivity

If keeping the Goliath frog as a pet, then you will need to ensure you provide it with a balanced diet so it gets all the essential nutrients. We recommend you feed them a diet consisting of live prey such as insects and worms as well as commercial food formulates for frogs.

Regarding the feeding frequency, you should only feed your adult goliath frog every 2-3 days. However, young goliaths undergoing rapid growth and development will require more frequent (daily) feeding.

Feeding these frogs come with its share of problems. For instance, feeding him frogs a diet that is too high in fats can lead to obesity and a string of other health issues.

Impaction is also possible as the frogs accidentally ingest foreign objects alongside their food. Feeding inappropriate prey such as too-large animals or hard-bodied prey can also cause impaction.

Goliath frog conservation Status

The Goliath frogs are Endangered species as per the IUCN Red List, meaning they are seriously at risk of extinction. Their current population trend is trending downward due to various threats they face in the wild.

Goliath frog conservation Status

Let’s briefly discuss each of these threats below:

  • Habitat loss: The natural frog habitats in the rainforests of West and Central Africa are facing destruction due to human settlements, deforestation, commercial logging, sedimentation, agriculture, etc. This leads to the loss of the frogs’ breeding and feeding grounds and suitable habitats, leading to a decline in their population.
  • Overhunting for meat: the indigenous folks are the biggest predators of these frogs and they hunt them for their meat. Over time, this can lead to overhunting of the species, which negatively affects their populations.
  • International pet trade: Goliath frogs are also kept as pets in the US and other parts of the world. Their demand in the pet trade causes illegal trades where they’re collected in the wild for the pet trade, further leading to a decrease in their numbers.

Other potential causes for a decrease in population include exportation for zoos and competition from other frog races.

Conservations efforts to protect Goliath frog

The frog conservation efforts are being laid out to help shield these unique frogs from the threats they face in the wild and thus enable them to survive and thrive in their natural habitats

Some of these conservation efforts include captive breeding programs to help build a healthy population of these animals and thus save them from going extinct.

Conservation organizations and research institutions are also studying the frogs’ biology and ecology to better understand them as well as the various threats they face in their habitats.

Goliath frog habitat preservation programs are being implemented to help protect the natural habitats where these frogs live. Some areas considered natural habitats for Goliath frogs such as Monte Alen National Park in Equatorial Guinea have been declared protected areas.

Additionally, up to three wildlife sanctuaries in Littoral Province of Cameroon have been declared protected areas.

Above all, the local communities are being educated on the need to protect the giant frogs and their natural habitats. This also includes working with the governments to put in place laws and regulations for protecting these frogs and their habitat.

A perfect example is the Equatorial Guinea government, which has set a limit of the maximum number of frog exportations per year to 300.

Overall, all these continued conservation efforts are important to ensure the survival of these frogs so that our future generations can get a chance to see them in the wild.

If you’re a fan of Goliath frogs, you may also be interested in learning about other fascinating frog species. At Amphibian X, we have informative articles on ghost frogs and tree frogs. Our article on ghost frogs offers a deep dive into the mysterious world of these elusive amphibians, detailing their unique features and adaptations. Meanwhile, our article on tree frogs covers the diverse range of tree-dwelling frogs, including red-eyed tree frogs and their colorful counterparts. So, if you want to expand your knowledge about the incredible world of frogs, be sure to check out our articles on ghost frogs and tree frogs.


Goliath frogs stand above all the other frog species as the largest frog species on the planet. These frogs are endemic to the rainforests of Central and West Africa and usually inhabit Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea countries.

We have just discussed all the key aspects there is to know about these frogs including their unique physical characteristics, natural habitat, nocturnal behavior, diet preferences, reproduction, and conservation status.

Despite being the largest frogs on the land, Goliath frogs are listed as endangered species. Their numbers have been on the decline due to habitat loss, overhunting, and pet trade.

Various conservation efforts have already been laid out to help preserve the populations of these animals so they can survive and thrive in their natural habitats for generations to come.

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