Animals often make for the best memes and that’s certainly the case here. The African Black Rain Frog is a high-altitude rain forest frog in Southern Africa that has a “resting sad face” and it’s hilarious.
These tiny black frogs can fit comfortably on the tips of your index and middle fingers and they look permanently aware and depressed of their miniature stature.
Why do they look this way?
Of course, they’re not really sad all the time, that’s just how they look. People have the habit of misinterpreting animals’ expressions and emotions. It’s very common for us to ascribe human emotions to animals just because of the way they look – it’s called anthropomorphism.
We don’t just do this to rare and unfamiliar species either, we often do it with household pets as well. The obvious example is the famous “grumpy cat” which – like the black rain frogs – isn’t really grumpy but just looks that way.
And while that’s just good fun, some examples can lead to problems. For example, it’s very common for people to misinterpret the expressions of dogs too even though they are our “best friends”.
Do you know that signature “guilty” look your dog always gives you after they’ve made a mess out of a pillow or the trash bin? It’s actually anxiety and fear. This means that all the “guilt shaming” a lot of dog owners use as a disciplining method is technically a form of emotional harassment.
Fortunately for the African black rain frog or Breviceps fuscus as is its scientific name, doesn’t look that way because it feels sad, scared, or anything similar – it just looks that way. When these frogs do feel threatened and scared, they tend to puff up their bodies to make themselves appear bigger and hopefully scare the predators away. The difference between a puffed up and a normal black rain frog is easily noticeable in this video. So, no matter how depressed they look, as long as they’re tiny, they’re fine.
If you do want to see these tiny grumpy frogs in person you may get grumpy yourself when you find out that they are native only to Cape Fold Belt in South Africa. These forest frogs in elevations of 3,300 feet or 1,000m and are a burrowing species too, making them even harder to find. If you do want to try and see them in the wild, they are most active around late November to early January, which is their breeding period.
Interestingly enough, they are also unique in that they don’t have tadpoles. These frogs lay their eggs in small underground clutches and little froglets are hatched from them without ever going through a tadpole phase.
These frogs’ sounds are just as adorable
Another hilarious feature of these frogs is how cute they sound when they get angry. They share that feature with their cousins, the desert rain frogs that live around the border of South Africa and Namibia. Both species are tiny burrowers with funny grumpy expressions, the black forest frogs’ faces are just easier to make out because of their homogeneous coloring.
Whenever these two species croak, they sound just like squeezing a squeaky toy. Truly ferocious, aren’t they?