Chacoan Horned Frog

(Ceratophrys cranwelli)


Chacoan Horned Frog IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The Chacoan horned frog grows fairly large (up to 15 cm) and can weigh up to ½ kg. It has fleshy points above its eyes that resemble small horns. It is colored brown, with dark green, yellow and red markings. This color scheme aids in camouflaging. It is terrestrial and nocturnal (it rests with the eyelids open). It breeds explosively during the first heavy rains of the year. The eggs are deposited in clumps in the water. Tadpoles are cannibalistic immediately after hatching. They metamorphose within three weeks.

Did you know?
In the wild Chacoan horned frogs experience contrasting wet and dry seasons. The have an ability to estivate for months at a time when exposed to abnormally dry and cool conditions. Therefore some keepers choose to put adult horned frogs also through a period of estivation where temperatures and humidity are reduced and feeding is stopped altogether. During this period, horned frogs are dormant and rely on stored fat deposits and a slowed metabolism in order to survive. They then develop a thick layer of protective skin to trap moisture and aid in respiration. When estivation is complete, the frog uses its front and hind legs to help shed the protective layer. In many cases, it also uses its jaws to help pull the skin over its back, often eating the skin in the process. This estivation period may even be necessary in order to start reproduction afterwards. This amphibian is an ambush predator and remains motionless and hidden most of the time until potential food comes nearby, at which time it lunges from its small hole in the ground and eats or attempts to eat whatever it is that’s in front of it. It is capable of leaping for several body lengths in order to capture prey. In the wild a large portion of their diet consists even of other frogs. Although these frogs can swallow animals almost half their size, they sometimes attempt to eat things larger than they are. A row of sharp teeth in their upper jaw makes it nearly impossible for them to release prey after taking it in their mouth, in some cases leading to death by choking. Because they have such a characteristically large mouth and thus resemble the video game character Pac-Man, they are also called Pacman Frogs.


Name (Scientific) Ceratophrys cranwelli
Name (English) Chacoan Horned Frog
Name (French) Grenouille cornue de Bell
Name (German) Argentinischer Hornfrosch, Schmuckhornfrosch
Name (Spanish) Escuerzo de Cranwell
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Franco Andreone



Range Argentina; Bolivia; Brazil; Paraguay
Habitat In tropical forests
Wild population It is a common species, but it is seldom found during the dry season. It is declining in the southern portion of the range due to persecution by local human populations because of unfounded beliefs that it is venomous. It is also collected for the international pet trade. The population trend is decreasing (Red List IUCN 2012).

In the Zoo

Chacoan Horned Frog


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 45 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Franco Andreone