South American Ornate Horned Frog

South American Ornate Horned Frog



COMMON NAME: South American ornate horned frog, horned frog, Pac Man frog
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Amphibia
ORDER: Anura
FAMILY: Leptodactylidae
GENUS SPECIES: Ceratophrys (horny skin) ornata (ornate)


DESCRIPTION: Large, fat frogs, often very colorful; usually green with dark red to black markings along their back
FEMALE Females slightly larger than males
SIZE: Snout to vent length: 14 cm (5.5 in)
WEIGHT: Large females may weigh up to 480 g (1 lb)
DIET: Large insects, small vertebrates such as lizards, mice, and other frogs (including their own species)
INCUBATION: At optimal temperature, it takes only two weeks to go from egg to tadpole to froglet
CLUTCH SIZE Females deposit 1,000-2,000 eggs in standing water
SEXUAL MATURITY: 18-24 months
LIFE SPAN: Average 6 years
RANGE: Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil
HABITAT: Burrows in the leafy, muddy vegetation of tropical forest floors
STATUS: IUCN Not listed
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed


1. These frogs are often called "mouths with legs" because the mouth appears to be the entire front half of the body.
2. The common name, horned frog, comes from the folds of skin that are located over its eyes.
3. As an adult, the horned frog is a passive hunter that waits for its food to come to it before attacking. As a juvenile, they are very active feeders and are cannibalistic.
4. This species has vomerine teeth, or teeth on the roof of its mouth, as well as around the outside of its jaw.
5. This species has vomerine teeth, or teeth on the roof of its mouth, as well as around the outside of its jaw.
6. In general, frogs have smooth skin while toads have textured skin.


As a small predator, one of the ornate frog's roles is controlling populations of small animals. As tadpoles and adults, horned frogs themselves are a source of food for many other carnivores. Like all amphibians, horned frogs have porous skin and respond quickly to changes in the environment; they are very sensitive to minute changes in the ecosystem.

These frogs are becoming more popular in scientific embryological research. Researchers are able to halt the development of the egg in different stages of development in order to better understand cell division.


Conant and Collins. Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1991.

De Vosjoli, Philippe. The General Care and Maintenance of Horned Frogs. California: Advanced Vivarium Systems, 1989.

Dickerson, Mary. The Frog Book. New York: Dover Pub. Inc., 1969.

Duellman and Trueb. Biology of the Amphibians. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1986.

Halliday, Tim R. and Kraig Adler (eds.). The Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. New York: Facts on File, 1987.

Mattison, Chris. Frogs and Toads of the World. New York: Facts of File, 1986.

Stebins and Cohen. A Natural History of Amphibians. 1995. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.