Female Purple Frog with Male Purple frog on her back



Species Spotlight

Purple Frog

Names: Purple Frog OR (more literally) Pig-nosed Frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis)

Size: Females like their men small, being roughly three times larger than their crush. These large ladies grow to between 2 and 3½ inches long – about the size of a credit card.

The Purple Frog up close
Purple Frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis)

Communication: Cock-a-doodle who? Purple frogs don’t croak, they sound more like chickens. Just before the monsoon, you can hear males underground, squawking their hearts out as they wait to hitch a matrimonial ride…

Favourite hangout: These little guys live alone in India’s Western Ghats, more than 3,000 miles from their closest relatives in the Seychelles! They’re happiest burrowed in loose, damp soil, feasting on ants and termites.

The Western Ghats - an EDGE zone in India
EDGE Zone: Western Ghats

Love language: Once a year, when they feel the urge, females grab their man and carry him on their backs to their watery breeding ground. There, using their hindlegs, these masculine love objects ‘push’ literally thousands of eggs out of their beloved, before fertilising them. How’s that for intimate contact on your first date?!

Purple Frogs in stream in India
Male frog riding female purple frog
Pig nosed frog with male on her back
The Purple Frog or Pig Nosed Frog

If you see one: You might be surprised. Purple frogs have small white snouts, small eyes, short limbs with hard palms for digging, glossy grey-to-purple skin, and bloated bodies - a bit like shell-less turtles! They’re rarely glimpsed, even by people who’ve studied them for years

Pet peeves: Changing weather patterns that mess with the monsoon and disrupt their once-a-year romantic adventure. Plus dams and anything else that destroys their lovely wet, woody homes.

Growth: Tadpoles emerge into fast-flowing streams roughly seven days after eggs have been fertilised. They grab onto rocks with their powerful sucker mouths and take about 100 days to turn into tiny frogs. Then they disappear underground.

Endangered Purple Frog

Facts: This dude’s been around for more than 80 million years, so you won’t be surprised it’s known as a living fossil. Forget tea plantations and roads, its forebears would have emerged from their burrows to see dinos prowling! It’s seen these wiped out, ice ages, and the rise of humans. Local people call it the Mahabali Frog, after King Mahabali, the mythical king of Kerala, who is believed to emerge from the netherworld once a year to visit his subjects.

Personality type? The Underlier, happily isolated underground until mating season hits. Then they’re set to get cosy with another of their kind.

How at risk is it? NEAR THREATENED - Any species that’s close to qualifying as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable.

See the Purple Frog in action...

Nature in The Western Ghats | Purple Frog


MOBILE GAME: Dodge the dangers this highly endangered frog faces in real life. Sidestep snakes. Zip past speeding trains. Learn fun facts as you go!