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Wonderfully Wild Wednesday: Waxy frogs

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

Introducing Wonderfully Wild Wednesday, where we’ll feature some fascinating wildlife adaptation each week. Let’s kick it off with one of the zoo’s newest residents—the waxy monkey frog.

I don’t need to tell you that the waxy monkey frog is awesome. You can see that for yourself…
But I will tell you that this frog—newly arrived to Woodland Park Zoo—is certainly unique among its amphibian brethren.

Most frogs have moist skin that is susceptible to drying out when exposed to direct sun for too long. But the South American waxy monkey frog is uniquely adapted to take in rays, allowing it to make a niche for itself in the hot, dry environment of its native habitat in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay.
So how does the waxy monkey frog do it? It’s in the name (well, the waxy part of the name, not the monkey part. We’ll get to the monkey part later).

The waxy monkey frog comes complete with built-in sunblock, a waxy secretion that comes from its neck that it can then rub all over its body. The wax prevents it from drying out under the sun by sealing in its natural moisture.
At the zoo you’ll find these arboreal frogs spending much of their time perched on tree limbs in their exhibit. And that’s where the other part of their name comes in. The waxy monkey frog gets its monkey title from the way it moves around in the trees, walking rather than hopping like other frogs.
Look for the waxy monkey frogs hanging out on limbs, munching on insects in the zoo’s Day Exhibit where most of our amphibian and reptile species reside.

Photos by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.


Nike said…
That's the weirdest looking frog I've ever seen!
Anonymous said…
Wonderful to have this at the zoo! Looking forward to seeing them.