Originally named the Titicaca water frog, the baggy skin on these unique frogs have earned them an even more unique nickname. Now known as scrotum frogs, they are making it into the news for a very sad reason. Thousands of them have washed up dead along Lake Titicaca.
The frogs that call Lake Titicaca home are certainly odd looking and have become critically endangered since they were first studied in 1970. The scrotum frog’s baggy skin is believed to help it live in the high altitudes of the lake. It’s thought that the skin can help them to absorb oxygen from its water home.
These unique frogs can grow over 20 inches and can weigh over two pounds. This makes them some of the largest frogs in the world. This and their strange skin once caused them to enter into the ugliest animals competition, likes its nickname might imply.
Scrotum Frogs in Danger
Nearly ten thousand of these special frogs have been found dead in the past few weeks, alarming many scientists. The population has already taken a massive hit, as nearly 80 percent of the population has been lost in the past 40 years. This sudden disaster could spell out a disastrous outcome for the remaining population.
This horrifying discovery was made along the Coata River, which feeds into Lake Titicaca. It is here that scientists are now going to spend time trying to discover what could have caused these sudden massive deaths.
While they are still unsure what caused it, they do believe that it has something to do with human activity in the region. Illegal mining activity in the area puts heavy metal pollutants into the water every day. Human sewage that is dumped into the river doesn’t help the scrotum frog’s situation either.
Another possibility is that the chytrid fungus has reached Lake Titicaca. This fungus has already devastated a nearby frog species and has killed millions of amphibians worldwide. It is believed to be responsible for over 100 species’ extinction. This fungus can be introduced into the environment by infected water or by an infected frog. If it moves into a new area, it may spread it there.
Scientists will begin performing tests on water samples. These tests will look for the chytrid fungus and wastes that may be present in the water. Autopsies will also be performed on some of the frogs they have collected. Hopefully this will not be the end for this unique species. Long live the ugly, wrinkly scrotum frog because honestly they’re a little cute.