THE WOLVERINE FROG


There are two things you need to know before you first read about the wolverine frog.

1. Yes, it does have bizarre hair and its claws are made from bone which it pushes through its skin.
2. Yes, this is a genuine frog species and not a photo-shopped mock up for Halloween or April fools day.

Wolverine frog claws
The Wolverine frog - Trichobatrachus robustus is genuine freak of nature and its all due to its rather gruesome defence mechanism. This is a unique feature and so far has only been found to occur within the Trichobatrachus genus, and even then only occurs on the back feet.

Unlike true claws, the retractable claws of the Wolverine frog are made of bone, and not keratin as you would expect in all other creatures. Incredibly, these claws are projected through the skin, apparently by the intentional breaking of the bones in the toe!

Furthermore, there is a small bony nodule that is nestled in the tissue just beyond the frog's fingertip. When sheathed, each claw is anchored to the nodule with tough strands of collagen. However, when the frog is grabbed or attacked, it breaks the nodule connection and forces its sharpened bones through the skin. Although the retraction mechanism has not yet been discovered by scientists, it is thought that it may passively slide back into the toe pad when its muscle relaxes and the damaged tissue is then regenerated.

The Wolverine frog
The hair-like structures that appear on the body and thighs are actually extensions of skin that protrude from the body. These appear only on the male, and even then only when it is in breeding condition.

These structures contain arteries and are believed to act like external gills. These help to absorb oxygen into the body while the male stays under the water for extended periods of time looking after its fertilized eggs.

The Wolverine frog is found across central Africa in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, and possibly Angola. It lives in a range of natural habitats including are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, and heavily degraded former forest.

The Wolverine frog is a terrestrial species of frog, but it does return to the water for breeding. Like many other animals it is threatened by habitat loss, but at the moment it is not considered endangered.

For related articles click onto the following links:
THE MALAYAN LEAF FROG - Megophrys nasuta
WHAT IS THE WORLD'S LARGEST FROG?
WHAT IS THE WORLD'S MOST POISONOUS FROG
THE WOLVERINE FROG

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