Indian Purple Frog Facts: They Are The Weirdest Frogs in the World

Purple frogs may be some of the most fascinating creatures on Earth. These small amphibians stand out due to their unique purple coloration. They also possess several distinct features that set them apart from other amphibian species. This article will dive deeper into the remarkable facts about purple frogs. Let’s find out together!

Indian purple frog
Scientific name: Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Genus: Nasikabatrachus

1 They were overlooked for a long time

What is a purple frog? The purple frog is a member of the Nasikabatrachidae family which only include 2 species. This family is native to India’s Western Ghats and has developed separately for approximately 120 million years. This frog has a close relationship with a small frog family in Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.

This old species has observed and experienced events such as the creation of new continents, a mass extinction (including dinosaurs), the emergence of mammals, the ice ages, and the appearance and spread of humans.  

Purple frogs have many different names and are common amphibians in the area. Locals discovered them for a long time and have been eating their tadpoles since 1918. According to local people in Idukki town, bhupathy purple frogs look like a turtle without a shell.

These species, however, were neglected by science due to their solitary lifestyle and were only publicly reported in 2003.

2. Purple frog has the weird look

Indian purple frogs are one of the strangest-looking frog species. Their most notable feature is their distinct color. Adults have a greater blackish-purple coloration, whereas the young will be in vibrant purple.

The purple frog has a weird appearance
This frog has an unusual look/Cre: on pic

Because of the appearance and anatomy of their mouth and nose, these frogs are also known as pig-nosed frogs. In comparison to their overall size, purple frogs have a quite tiny head with small eyes. Their pointed snout makes them look more like a mole than a frog.

The animals have a distinctively horizontally inflated body frame. This makes their bodies disproportionate.

The purple frog has a pointed snout and a flat body

Their swollen body is supported by short, sturdy, strong limbs. With these legs, the purple creature cannot leap from one location to another, which is a distinguishing feature of other frog species. The species have strong palms that allow them to burrow underground. 

The purple frog is fairly small, with females being substantially bigger than males. The females have a size of about 3.5 in (9 cm) in length. On the other, the males barely reach 1.2 in (3 cm) in length.

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3. Range and Habitat

This one-of-a-kind amphibian can only be found in one of the world’s hottest regions, the southern Western Ghats of India, Asia. They also live in numerous sites and places throughout Kerala, as well as a specific region of Tamil Nadu in this country.

Purple frogs have also been observed or found in Annamalai Tiger Reserve, Silent Valley National Park, and Periyar Tiger Reserve.

These frogs are among the burrowing amphibians that spend their entire lives underground. They like moist, soft, well-aerated soil near water bodies like lakes, streams, ponds, or canals, which locate in low-elevation regions. During mating season, these locations make it easier for purple frogs to emerge.

4. They live an underground life

This amphibian spends almost its whole time underground. They only come out to mate for a couple of days or weeks every year during the monsoon season. They don’t even bother to come out for food because everything (food) they need is already underground.

They have good adaptions for survival underground. The frogs have significantly shorter legs with sharp claws that help them burrow through the loose dirt where they live. Their skeleton and front head are tougher than those of other frogs, helping them get through the soil.

Since purple-nosed frogs live underground, their eyes are small. They just use them for a little time on the ground. The frogs also have a long-fluted tongue to grab ants and termites underground.

Each of these characteristics allows the frog to live practically its whole life below the surface.

5. Diet

There’s no exact information about purple frogs’ diet. The adults are said to feed on ants, termites, and other tiny invertebrates that are available in their surroundings. To get prey, they use their distinctive groove and tongue. Meanwhile, their tadpoles consume microscopic bacteria until they are big enough to move. 

6. Reproduce

As mentioned above, purple frogs just emerge to the surface for a brief period (varying from a few hours to a few days or weeks) each year to mate. Because purple frogs are newly reported species in India, there’s little information about them. One definite thing is that these frogs need highly precise breeding areas.

When the breeding season (or the monsoon season) starts, males emerge and get close to the streams created by heavy rains. To entice females, they begin emitting noisy calls. These sounds resemble the sounds of a ‘chicken’.

Males then breed with females. The females then deposit their eggs (approximately 3,000 eggs) at the beginning of the rainy season when the water levels are not high. The eggs are hidden in cracks, pits, or the undersides of stones at the bottom of the stream/river. Purple frogs’ flattened bodies allow them to attach themselves to submerged stones if the currents are strong.

The female lays eggs and the male fertilizes them/Cre: on pic

The eggs develop into tadpoles after a few days. However, these tadpoles do not swim all day like the tadpoles of many other frog species. Instead of that, they evolve suckerfish-like mouths to stick to the bedrock behind waterfalls. Their extraordinarily adapted mouths can endure exceedingly high water velocity. Here, the larvae nibble on algae-covered rocks with their small teeth, 

They hang there for about 120 days. This is the longest time they stay on the ground in their whole life. After the larvae stage is over, they leave the surface and start digging a burrow underground and have a life there. 

The larvae cling to the bedrock and develop here

People don’t know how long purple frogs can live. Despite this, these extremely rare frogs Despite this, they are estimated to have a short life expectancy due to challenges such as habitat destruction, deforestation, and human consumption.

7. They are about to extinct

Purple frogs are rated as extremely rare frogs. The IUCN Red List classifies them as Endangered. Because of their rarity and irreplaceability, they are classified as the third worldwide priority for amphibian conservation (EDGE list).

Climate change, habitat degradation due to human expansion and deforestation, and human consumption are all threatening the species’ existence.


  • Loss of habitat:

Dams, cultivation, and deforestation have affected the native regions of their habitats, compressed the soil, and caused drier settings than the frog is suited with. The local ecosystems are in mess.

Intense grazing can also disrupt soil texture, making it more difficult for the frogs to move around and capture food.

  • Low reproduction rate:

The ratio of male to female frogs is not equal. There are about 135 specimens of this species have been reported, and only 3 of them are females. This means they can’t breed quickly enough to increase the population.

Like other frogs, purple frogs need water to lay eggs. Drought and insufficient rainfall can lead to population decreases.

Human activities can also interfere with the natural breeding process which only occurs once a year.  

  • Human consumption:

Because the purple frog is not poisonous, locals usually eat it. They have traditionally consumed both full-grown purple frogs and their larvae to cure diseases. In some communities, they are made amulets and let children wear them to alleviate their anxiety about storms.

Their tadpoles are largely consumed by the local.

If sufficient precautions are not taken, these species may become extinct.


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