Giant Frog File

Cyclorana australis

Credit: Gbro0501, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons








Wild 20 years

Captive 20 years




Conservation Status


Least Concern

A Frog For All Seasons!

The giant frog is also known as the Australian water-holding frog. These animals can survive the variable weather in Northern Australia due to their ability to form a cocoon under ground to hold moisture in.

After the rains they will come to the surface and gather at temporary pools where they will mate and produce tadpoles which must develop quickly before the temporary pools in which they live dry out.

They are carnivores who will seek out a range of invertebrates on which to feed.

No major threats to this species have been recorded and they are considered the most common amphibian in their range.

Read on to learn more about these amazing amphibians.


What does the Giant Frog look like?

Adults are colored brown. On either side of their head is a dark brown stripe. Across their back the skin is rough. Juveniles are colored green and develop the adult coloration as they age.

These animals have long legs. Each toe is long with no webbing present between the toes.

This species has large eyes which provide them with excellent vision and can be used to find their prey.

Female giant frogs are larger than males. On average the females will measure 10cm (4in) long compared to 8cm (3.2in) long for males.

As the cane toad moves westward across Australia they regularly overlap with this species and the two can be easily confused as a result of their similar appearance.


How does the Giant Frog survive in its habitat?

To allow them to survive in the dry conditions of northern Australia these amphibians will form a cocoon from shed skin, mucus and the earth in which they remain. This helps to prevent them drying out.

Further to this large amounts of water are retained within the bladder and beneath the skin when water is abundance to carry them through dry periods.

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What does the Giant Frog eat?

Giant frogs are carnivores. Their diet is primarily made up of insects such as beetles and termites.

Learn more about Frogs in this video from San Diego Zoo on YouTube


Where do you find the Giant Frog?

Australia is the native home of the giant frog. Here they are found in the North of the country through Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.


Where can the Giant Frog survive?

These animals are found in grasslands and open woodlands. Much of the areas they are found in feature little vegetation cover.

Giant Frog (Ranoidea australis)

Credit: Damon Ramsey of Colors tweaked by Mats Halldin, CC BY-SA 2.5 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


How does the Giant Frog produce its young?

Breeding takes place at the beginning of the wet season.

Their eggs are laid in temporary waterholes and ditches. Males gather at the pools first and begin to call in hopes of attracting a mate. In each spawn a female will deposit 1000 eggs. The eggs sink to the bottom of the water.

After hatching the young, known as tadpoles are colored brown. At their largest they grow to 7cm (2.8in) long. Their progression from hatching to an adult occurs over just a few weeks before the waterhole dries up.

Tadpoles will move around in small groups known as schools.

Sexual maturity is reached at two years old.


What does the Giant Frog do during its day?

These animals emerge at night. The day is spent in a burrow dug roughly 10cm (4in) in to the soil. Much of their time is spent in these burrows before they emerge in large numbers following summer rains to hunt.

Their call is a loud 'wharkk' which is repeated over and over again.

Giant Frog (Ranoidea australis)

Credit: Gbro0501, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Predators and Threats

What stops the Giant Frog from surviving and thriving?

The giant frog is the most commonly sighted frog in their range and it is thought the population is stable. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature recognize no major threats to their ongoing survival.

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Quick facts

This species was first described for modern science during 1842.

They may also be known as the northern snapping frog, Australian water-holding frog, giant burrowing frog or round frog.


Jackson, T. and Chinery, M., 2012. The illustrated encyclopedia of animals of the world. London: Southwater.

Western Australian Museum. 2022. Giant Frog | Western Australian Museum. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 17 April 2022].

Queensland Government. 2022. Cyclorana australis (northern snapping frog). [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 17 April 2022].

AmphibiaWeb 2008 Cyclorana australis: Giant Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 17, 2022.

Western Australian Museum. 2022. Giant Frog | Western Australian Museum. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 17 April 2022].

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