Frog the 'Size of a Human Baby' Discovered in the Solomon Islands

In mid-April, a band of timber mill employees hunting wild pigs captured a frog they described as being the size of a human baby on the outskirts of Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands.

The mill owner, Jimmy Hugo, shared a photo of the enormous animal with his Facebook friends with the caption, "Where I come from, it's call bush chicken." The nickname is an allusion to Solomon Islanders' fondness for serving amphibians, Hugo told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

It's "more delicious than chicken," Hugo said.

Commenter Patrick Pikacha, who ABC identified as a local biologist, wrote that the frog belongs to the Cornufer guppyi species. Colloquially known as Shortland Island webbed frogs or giant webbed frogs, according to the American Museum of Natural History, Cornufer guppyi are the largest aquatic frogs in the "Solomon Islands and probably in Melanesia," he wrote. They are also among the largest frogs on the planet.

Despite their enormous size and top-of-the-food-chain status, the frogs face a host of threats, including habitat loss and pollution. While they were once common in and around streams, Pikacha said in an educational video about Cornufer guppyi that was reposted by the Facebook page BrökenvéssèL on January 17, they are seldom seen anymore.

"They are becoming quite rare," he told ABC.

These large water frogs, Cornufer guppyi, are found from New Britain (PNG) to Solomon Islands. In the Solomon's they occur from Guadalcanal and Malaita...

Sadly, the specimen that Hugo's employees caught did not live to father or mother another clutch of eggs. However, Hugo apparently intends to show Cornufer guppyi mercy in the future.

"I told my boys...next time, if you guys catch one, we'll keep it," he said. "So that next time, they see the real frog, not just a picture."

While Jodi Rowley, the curator of amphibian and reptile conservation biology at the Australian Museum, told Australian Geographic that she had "never seen" a Shortland webbed frog as massive as the one depicted in Hugo's photo before, Pikacha was less impressed. He told ABC that he has encountered bigger ones in his career.

"I've taken a picture of one of those frogs [that had a] snout-vent length of about 30 centimeters—the length of your ruler," he said. "That frog had a ground grub in its mouth. It...was busy eating and couldn't jump so I went and patted it like a little puppy dog."

For his part, Hugo was taken aback by the amount of engagement his post attracted. It currently has 1,340 reactions and 849 shares.

"I was very surprised to see how people reacted to the picture," he said.

Solomon Islands boy clutches giant frog.
Solomon Islands resident Jimmy Hugo's young son clutches the massive frog, which was eventually eaten. Facebook/Jimmy Hugo/Jimmy Hugo