The Mountain Chicken is not a chicken at all. In fact, it is one of the largest frogs in the world. Its name comes from strong hind legs which locals find very appetizing – hence their popularity as a traditional Caribbean dish.
The frogs have striking patterns which effectively camouflages them against the forest floor when they’re not hiding in burrows or rock crevices. It is well camouflaged against its habitat and remains still for lengthy periods of time before ambushing its prey.
It can reach a head and body length of over 20 cm, weigh between 400-700g and live for up to 12 years.
The mountain chicken has an enormous appetite and an extremely varied diet consisting of insects, crickets, millipedes, crustaceans and even small vertebrates, such as other frogs, snakes and small mammals.
The mountain chicken was once found on many of the eastern Caribbean islands but is now restricted to just Dominica and Montserrat. The mountain chicken is found in a variety of moist habitats and most commonly found near streams and springs and is rarely found in grasslands.
The mountain chicken frog is classified as Critically Endangered. This means that they face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild due to a drastic population decline as a result of hunting by people, volcanic activity and the arrival of the chytrid fungus.
Mountain chicken frogs are on an EAZA European Endangered species Programme (EEP), and Bristol Zoo works hard together with other European zoos to continue the population of mountain chicken frogs in human care.
Eggs are laid in nests of foam in burrows and develop entirely underground. Female frogs lay infertile eggs for the developing tadpoles to eat. Once the tadpoles metamorphose, they hop out of the burrows to fend for themselves.
You can find our mountain chicken frogs in the Reptile House, near Twilight World and the Aquarium
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