Wave Hello to the Panamanian Golden Frogs

Wave hello to our Panamanian Golden Frogs on display in the Lied Jungle! They might just wave back, if you’re another frog that is.

Native to Panama’s Cordilleran Mountains, Panamanian Golden Frogs use a form of semaphore, a type of long distance communication, to speak to other frogs. The loud, fast-moving streams in their natural habitat make their throat vocalizations rather ineffective, especially since they don’t have external ears. So, they’ve adapted to waving their hands and raising their feet to signal their mates and defend their territory.

What else makes these frogs so “toadally” cool?

  • They're smooth-skinned and look like a frog, but they're in fact a "true toad."
  • They produce a toxin through their skin called zetekitoxin, which can paralyze and potentially kill predators.
  • Each frog has their own unique set of black spots on their skin, like humans have their own fingerprints.
  • Rather than hopping, these frogs move around with an ambling walk, or running walk.
  • In Panama, they’re considered a symbol for good luck.

Panamanian Golden Frogs are considered critically endangered and possibly extinct in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The chytrid fungus, responsible for the rapid decline of amphibian species worldwide, is the main reason for their condition in the wild. Conservation-wise, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium provided funding and resources to Panama, in an effort to help construct an amphibian rescue center for these frogs.

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