• Red-Banded Rubber Frog - Phrynomantis bifasciatus

    Phrynomantis bifasciatus (Smith, 1847) - Red-Banded Rubber Frog, Red-Banded Frog, Red-Banded Crevice Creeper, Fire Walking Frog, South African Snake-Necked Frog
    by Kurt Kunze

    Red-Banded Rubber Frog, Phrynomantis bifasciatus
    (Photo: 2009 Kurt Kunze)


    Microhylidae (Narrow-Mouthed Frogs)

    Phrynomerinae (Rubber Frogs)

    Angola, Botswana, the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, & Zimbabwe. Introduced to Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, and Zambia
    Adult Snout-to-Vent Length:

    Male: 53 mm (2.08 inches); Female: 65 mm (2.55 inches)
    IUCN (Red List) Status:

    Least Concern (LC)
    Similar Species:

    Phrynomantis microps, Red-Backed or West African Rubber Frog

    Meet the Frog Part 5: the Red-Banded Rubber Frog, Phrynomantis bifasciatus

    Phrynomantis bifasciatu
    s in know by many common names. Probably the most descriptive is Red-Banded Crevice Creeper, because this frog will seek just about any tight space or crevice for shelter during the day. It is also known as the Fire Walking Frog for its habit of walking rather than hopping as a means of locomotion.

    Its slow mode of moving about matters little as this species is quite toxic - its bright colors warn potential predators to avoid making a meal of this attractive little frog. Normal handling of this frog is generally safe. However, if there are scratches or open wounds on one's hands, poisoning can result. Symptoms of a poisoning include painful swelling, difficulty in breathing, headache, increased heart rate, and nausea. These symptoms should last no more than 4 hours. If other frogs are kept in the same enclosure with this species, they may well die.

    Breeding takes place during summer in temporary ponds that form after heavy rains. Females of this species are known to lay between 600 and 1,500 eggs, which are often attached to floating vegetation. Tadpoles hatch 4 days later and metamorphose about a month later.

    Red-Banded Rubber Frog, Phrynomantis bifasciatus
    (Photo: 2009 Kurt Kunze)

    During the dry season this species seeks shelter in burrows, loose soil, termite mounds, and the hollows of dead trees. It is capable of digging burrows with its hind limbs, even though it lacks the "digging spades" found on frogs of other families, such as Scaphiopodidae and Pelobatidae (Spadefoot Toads). It is often found miles from the nearest water source, in sand or under rocks. While generally found at ground level, this species is surprizingly adept at climbing, so finding one in a tree or a bush is not unusual.

    A particularly fascinating characteristic of this species is its tongue. It can shoot out in an arc greater than 200 degrees, meaning it can capture prey that is to the side of it's head or just slightly behind it. It shares this feature with other members of the family Microhylidae, as well as members of the family Hemisotidae. The frog's diet in the wild includes ants and perhaps termites. In captivity it will feed upon any small insect. Tadpoles of this species are filter feeders.

    When threatened, Phrynomantis bifasciatus will inflate itself very much like a Bufonid (True Toad) would, with its head tucked in. Warning colors and skin toxins are effective at backing up this defense posture.

    In captivity, this frog can be maintained like your average toad. Record for longevity of this species in captivity is 6 years, 7 months. Sadly, all specimens currently offered for sale in the pet trade are wild caught in origin.

    1. Channing, Alan & Howell, Kim M. Amphibians of East Africa 2006; Cornell University Press.
    2. Whittaker, Kellie & Chantasirivisal, Peera Phrynomantis bifasciatus Red-Banded Rubber Frog, Red-banded Frog, South African Snake-Necked Frog 2005 University of California, Berkeley. http://amphibiaweb.org/.

    Other Resources
    AmphibiaWeb Record: Phrynomantis bifasciatus
    If you have more resource links please submit them - please note that we only link family friendly sites.
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Fire Salamander's Avatar
      Fire Salamander -
      Great Article!
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