Zoologist, media consultant, and science writer, Dr Karl Shuker is also one of the best known cryptozoologists in the world. He is the author of such seminal works as Mystery Cats of the World (1989), The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century (1993; greatly expanded in 2012 as The Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals), Dragons: A Natural History (1995), In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (1995), The Unexplained (1996), From Flying Toads To Snakes With Wings (1997), Mysteries of Planet Earth (1999), The Hidden Powers of Animals (2001), The Beasts That Hide From Man (2003), Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007), Dr Shuker's Casebook (2008), Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo: From the Pages of Fortean Times (2010), Cats of Magic, Mythology, and Mystery (2012), Mirabilis: A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History (2013), Dragons in Zoology, Cryptozoology, and Culture (2013), The Menagerie of Marvels (2014), A Manifestation of Monsters (2015), Here's Nessie! (2016), and what is widely considered to be his cryptozoological magnum opus, Still In Search Of Prehistoric Survivors (2016) - plus, very excitingly, his first two long-awaited, much-requested ShukerNature blog books (2019, 2020).

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Friday 11 September 2015


Alongside a statue of a hypothetical giant frog (© Dr Karl Shuker)

The 20th Century opened with one of the most dramatic amphibian discoveries of all time – the aptly-named goliath frog Conraua goliath. Up to 14.5 in long from snout to vent, plus a pair of enormous hind legs, and weighing up to 8 lb, it is the world's biggest known species of living frog (or toad, for that matter), as large in fact as certain antelopes with which it shares its Middle African domain (for further details regarding this remarkable amphibian's scientific unveiling, see my book The Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals). However, another very sizeable African frog remains unidentified and unexamined by science almost 70 years after it was first documented.

On 31 December 1945, an article penned by Harvard University herpetologist Arthur Loveridge was published in the zoological journal Copeia, concerning an attack some months earlier upon an askari (native policeman) at Tapili, Niangara, in what was then the Belgian Congo (later renamed Zaire, and now called the Democratic Republic of Congo). Loveridge's source of information concerning this incident was a Mr C. Caseleyr, then Administrator of the Niangara Territory. The askari had come to Caseleyr to inform him that while walking by a pool earlier that evening, he had been bitten on one of his legs by what proved to be a very large frog – he'd lunged out at his attacker with a large club that he was carrying and had killed it outright. And as conclusive proof of his statement, the askari had brought with him the frog's body to show it to Caseleyr.

A goliath frog Conraua goliath (© Dr Jordi Sabater Pi)

What was even more surprising than the fact that he'd been attacked by such a creature, however, was the wound that it had produced. For when Caseleyr examined the askari's leg, he could see two puncture marks resembling the wounds that a dog's teeth would leave – and that was not all. When he then examined the dead frog, Caseleyr was very startled to discover that its upper jaw and lower jaw each possessed a pair of sharp teeth that actually did resemble a dog's canine teeth, and its tongue was forked like a snake's. The frog was grey-green in colour dorsally, with a large orange patch on its chest and stomach, and in general shape and size was very large, broad, and fat (though no specific measurements for it were provided by Loveridge).

Loveridge referred to this animal throughout his article as a frog, but Caseleyr personally felt that it seemed more like a toad, although he freely confessed that he had no informed knowledge on such matters. However, Loveridge stated that the creature's notched tongue eliminated a toad as its identity. Yet he also recognised that its description (and most especially the presence of two teeth-like projections in its upper jaw, not just in its lower jaw) readily differentiated this sizeable mystery frog from all known species in that region. Consequently, albeit with great hesitation, Loveridge concluded his article by speculating that "it may be that some large species remains to be discovered in the Niangara region". Yet if so, it has somehow managed to elude scientific detection for several decades since then (and continues to do so today). Impossible? Perhaps not...

This ShukerNature blog article is excerpted from a comprehensive chapter devoted exclusively to cryptic frogs and toads contained in my latest, newly-published book, A Manifestation of Monsters – so be sure to check it out!


  1. Hi, my name is Jacob and I am 13 years old. As well as a keen interest in paleontology and wildlife, I also love cryptozoology! I have several of your books and I love them! I like how in many of them you focus on lesser-known cryptids.
    I really enjoyed this post as I particularly like amphibians.
    I would also like to thank you for inspiring my interest in cryptids!

    1. Hi Jacob, Thanks for your kind words and I'm very happy to know how much you enjoy my cryptozoology books.

    2. Hello Dr. Kark Shuker , may i thank you for this magnificent Post . My interests and both study area are amphibians for some time, and the giants that are elusively managed to escape all attention of the public or science interests me the most ..

      Darren Naish also wrote something about the Carn-Pnay from Papua Ne Guinea. Can you please tell me or show me a title or article from this Congo giant if possible '? This is awsome !...
      Love your blog by the way ...
      Im only still writing on well-known animals like the common Adder, thats soon going to change ..!
      Thanks for the yearlong inspiration Mr Shuker !.
      Regards Marc .

    3. Thanks for the kind words, Marc. I wrote about the carn-pnag of New Guinea long ago, way back in 1993 in my book The Lost Ark, so I assume that Darren read it there as he has this book of mine and its two sequels. The Congo giant mystery frog that I documented above also appears in my recent book A Manifestation of Monsters (2015), which contains an entire chapter on mystery frogs and toads, but the original article in which it appeared was: Loveridge, Arthur (1945). African native attacked by a giant frog. Copeia (31 December), p. 232. Hope this helps. All the best, Karl

  2. dude the picture is very fake, you can tell because the frog is saturated meaning that it was edited using some kind of photo editor. Also you can see the cut out by the feet is overlapping the ground.

  3. The photo of the goliath frog dates back to the 1950s and possiby even earlier, long before photo-editing programmes existed. Also, I knew its photographer, Dr Jordi Sabater Pi, personally, he was a very famous, much-respected Spanish zoologist whose work on West African wildlife including the goliath frog was exemplary. This particular photo is one of his most famous pictures, there is no issue whatsoever about its authenticity. As for the photo of me squatting next to the giant frog statue, this is my own photo, which is certainly not edited or manipulated in any way. The giant frog statue is at London Zoo that I visited some years ago and can be seen there by anyone.

  4. That’s why I hate small frogs!

    I love giant frogs!

  5. I want that big frog!

    Because I hate small frogs!

  6. This reminds me of accounts of oversized frogs from China. There was a story, can't remember the details, of three scientists or researchers at a freshwater spring who were approached by three giant, pale-skinned amphibians with mouths (they claim) six feet across, one of them supposedly swallowed their camera and tripod! Might be a tall story to explain how they lost some expensive equipment, but who knows?

    1. Yes, I've documented that Chinese report in various of my writings.