Bio Facts: Frog, Vietnamese Mossy
Vietnamese Mossy Frog
Northern Vietnam and possibly China
Subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical moist montanes, freshwater marshes, intermittent freshwater marshes, and rocky areas at altitudes of 2600 – 4300 ft (800 – 1300 m) above sea level
Adult female length: up to 3 in. (7 – 8 cm); adult male length: up to 2.5 in. (6.3 cm); coloration: skin is mottled green, brown and sometimes red, resembling moss growing on rock; appearance: large sticky pads on their toes and a soft underbelly.
In the wild: unknown; in captivity: 12 – 15 years
In the wild, they eat crickets, locusts, cockroaches, waxworms, moths and flies; in the Zoo, they are fed crickets and other invertebrates.
IUCN – Data Deficient
The Vietnamese mossy frog is a nocturnal, semi-aquatic species, spending much of the time hiding in the water under rocks and floating plants. It will also attach itself to the crevice on a rock, just above the water appearing to be moss.
Usually, it breeds in rock cavities with accumulated still water at their floor, and larval development has been observed in tree holes, suggesting that breeding may also take place in these cavities. The breeding season usually lasts from April to June. The eggs are deposited above the water to protect them from aquatic predators and hatch in 7 to 14 days with the newly hatched tadpoles dropping from their eggs into the water below. Metamorphosis from tadpole to frog takes about 3 months to a year to complete.
When frightened, mossy frogs will curl up into a ball and play dead.
Excellent allocryptic camouflage: the green skin, with black spots and stains, is provided with numerous tubercles and spines, giving it the appearance and dimension of moss. Therefore it is quite impossible to see a calmly sitting frog.
These frogs have sticky discs at the end of each toe, making them skillful tree climbers. Large eyes give them a broad range of vision.
A frog has no hard palate (hard part of the roof of the mouth behind the front teeth). To swallow food, it pulls its eyes down into the roof of its mouth which helps push food down its throat.
Listed as Data Deficient in view of continuing uncertainties as to its extent of occurrence, status and ecological requirements. This species is threatened by forest damage in Tam Dao, which continues to be significant (BirdLife International 2001). Clear-cutting at Mao Son has also reduced the available habitat for this species. This is one of the few regional frog species for which there is a specific demand in the global pet trade.
Why do zoos keep this animal? Deforestation is the main danger for this species now, because Vietnam and other countries have very fast economic development and destroy primary rainforest.
Mossy tree frogs are protected by the Vietnamese government.
Jacksonville Zoo History:
Vietnamese Mossy Frogs have been part of the Jacksonville Zoo’s animal collection since 2009.