What kind of animal is a mountain chicken?
If you said a bird, you would be wrong. They are in fact a kind of frog!
Here are five interesting facts about them:
- Also known as giant ditch frogs, mountain chickens are one of the largest frogs in the world, measuring up to 21 cm.
- Mountain chickens get their strange name from the fact that they taste like chicken. Their meaty legs are the national food of the island of Dominica.
- During the day, mountain chickens dig burrows in moist soil to hide, coming out at night, when they hide and ambush their prey which includes virtually any sort of animal that it can fit into its huge mouth. This includes insects, millipedes, crustaceans and even smaller frogs, snakes and small mammals. Due to their size, they are considered the largest native predators on the islands where they live.
- At breeding time, males wrestle with each other for the best underground burrows. The females then release a fluid which the male uses to make a nest for the eggs. After the eggs hatch, the female lays up to 25,000 unfertilised eggs for the little babies to eat. Then, after about 45 days, between 26 and 43 little froglets come out.
- Unfortunately, mountain chickens are considered to be critically endangered due to poaching for food, introduced predators (such as cats, dogs, pigs and rats), deadly fungal disease, habitat loss and even volcano eruptions. They are only found in a few spots on the Caribbean islands of Montserrat and Dominica. Thankfully, zoos have been able to successfully breed them in captivity, so that one day they can be returned to the wild in greater numbers.
I hope that you found these facts interesting and learned something new.
Are there any other interesting facts that you would like to share about mountain chickens?