Asian Painted Frog

26 Dec

Kaloula pulchra

Asian Painted Frogs Kaloula pulchra

Asian Painted Frog on Ko Samet

Banded Bull Frog Kaloula pulchra

Large Asian Painted Frog found out at night in Chatuchak

Painted Bullfrog Kaloula pulchra

Asian Painted Frog found under rocks in Suan Luang

Asian Painted Frog Kaloula pulchra with skin fold

Asian Painted Frog found under board on Ko Samet, showing unusual skin fold

Chubby Frog Kaloula pulchra from top

Dorsal view of Asian Painted Frog from under board at edge of marsh in Rangsit

Painted Bullfrog Kaloula pulchra

Asian Painted Frog hiding in tree in Bang Kapi

Asian Painted Frog Kaloula pulchra at night with Common Indian Toad

Asian Painted Frog encountering Common Indian Toad at night in Pathum Thani Province

Asian Bullfrog Kaloula pulchra calling

Asian Painted Frog calling near fish pond in Chiang Mai Province

Asian Painted Frog Kaloula pulchra calling

Asian Painted Frog calling from water in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province (photo by Mourits Horst Løvholt)

Asian Painted Frogs Kaloula pulchra mating

Asian Painted Frogs mating in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province (photo by Mourits Horst Løvholt)

juvenile Asian Painted Frog Kaloula pulchra

Juvenile Asian Painted Frog active during day in light rain on Ko Samet

Banded Bullfrog Kaloula pulchra metamorph

Asian Painted Frog metamorph found at edge of marsh in Chiang Mai Province

Asian Painted Frog  Kaloula pulchra metamorphs

Asian Painted Frog metamorphs on edge of pond in Chiang Mai Province

English name: Asian Painted Frog (aka “Asian Bullfrog”, “Banded Bullfrog”, or “Chubby Frog”)
Scientific name: Kaloula pulchra
Thai name: Ung-ang ban, Ung yan

Description: Up to 8cm long. A heavyset, short-legged frog with a short broad head and blunt snout.  Adults are dark brown with a broad tan or cream stripe on each side.  The underbelly is a dirty white. Juveniles are grey with various black and brown markings (see pictures).

Tadpoles are dark and fat with a very thin tail and transparent tail-fins.

Call: Its loud, easily-recognizable call resembles a cattle bellow.

Similar Species: Inornate Froglet is flatter, has distinct black markings, and will hop around like a flea when exposed.
Ornate Narrowmouth Frog tends to be smaller and has a pointed snout.
Floating frogs (genus Occidozyga) are less round, have rougher skin, and lack the bright side markings.

Habitat: Can be found almost anywhere with sufficient moisture, including overgrown lots, yards, parks, forest, wetlands, rice paddies, and even parking lots. Spends the day buried under rocks, logs, leaves, trash, or within underground burrows. It is active at night, often wandering into homes as it forages for insects. Because its tadpoles develop quickly, it is able to reproduce even in areas with temporary puddles that only last a few weeks.

Contribution to the ecosystem: The Asian Painted Frog helps control ant and termite populations. It is a food source for snakes, monitors, and humans. I have witnessed one being preyed upon by a juvenile monitor.

Danger to humans: This frog will excrete a slightly toxic substance from their skin while held, but the poison is weak and poses no danger to humans. You will notice it on your skin when your fingers start sticking together after handling the frogs.

Conservation status and threats: Though this species is collected both for the pet trade and for food, it has adapted well to urban expansion and appears to be thriving in the wild. It sometimes ends up as an accidental stowaway on shipping vessels and invasive individuals or populations have been found in Singapore, Borneo, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, and Guam. It is considered a pest by some standards.

Interesting facts: During the mating season the male frogs float in the water making loud cow-like “honks” to attract the females. The air they suck in in order to make this noise, combined with their already rotund appearance, gives the impression of floating beach balls with legs. The eggs they lay after mating are very small and form a film on the surface of the water.

This frog has spade-like growths on its back feet that assist it in digging backwards into the soil.

Animal Life Resource (Kaloula pulchra): Species Accounts
AmphibiaWeb: Kaloula pulchra
Wikipedia: Banded Bullfrog
Ecology Asia: Banded Bullfrog
Nature Malaysia: Banded Bull Frog
The IUCN Red List: Kaloula pulchra
An Asian species of frog (Kaloula pulchra, Microhylidae) intercepted at Perth International Airport, Australia
Online Field Guide: Kaloula pulchra
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
Hong Kong Amphibians and Reptiles (2nd Edition)


Posted by on December 26, 2011 in Frogs, Microhylids


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13 responses to “Asian Painted Frog

  1. Jorn

    May 25, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    Great info and pictures!

  2. Occi

    January 22, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    I have one now downstairs, snuck in from I don’t know where 😦 I’m generally afraid of frogs so I googled to get to know him. I think I’ll let him stick around. Think having to be called Chubby Frog is sort of funny plus he might help me with the termites.

    • Asian Herp Blogs

      January 23, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      Yes, they certainly sneak into homes from time to time. But it is important that they have a place with moisture and soft dirt to bury into, besides the termites to eat. If there is no such place inside your home, then there is a good chance it could dry out and die. So it would probably be best if you could find someone who could take it outside and release it so it can continue to do all its termite-eating outside your house!

      • Occi

        February 5, 2017 at 9:00 pm

        ohhh, It’s a good thing then that my sister took him out last week. Saw him few days ago when it rained.


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