Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Ornate Horned Frog

Order: Anura
Family: Leptodactylidae
Genus/species: Ceratophys ornata

These are large flat toothed frogs and are usually very colorful. They are green with dark red to black markings along their backs. Females are slightly larger than males and may weigh up to one pound (480 g). They measure about 5.5 inches (14 cm) from snout to vent. They have vomerine teeth (teeth on the roof of the mouth), as well as the outside of the jaw.

Distribution and Habitat
These frogs are native to Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil, where they burrow into leafy, muddy vegetation of the tropical forest floor. They hibernate for up to six months in dry conditions and wait for rain.

Diet in the Wild
Ornate horned frogs eat large insects, small vertebrates such as lizards, mice, and other frogs, including other ornate horned frogs. They are passive hunters and wait for food to come near before attacking.

Zoo Diet
They are fed earthworms, cockroaches, and crickets.

Females deposit between 1,000 and 2,000 eggs in standing water, and at optimal temperature, it takes only two weeks for the egg to reach the froglet stage.

Life Span
They may live up to about six years.

They are not legally protected. As a small predator, one of the ornate horned frog’s roles is to control populations of smaller animals. As tadpoles and adults, horned frogs are of course a source of food for other animals as well.

Fun Facts
These frogs are sometimes called “mouths with legs” because the mouth appears to be the entire front half of the body. Their common name, horned frog, comes from the folds of skin that are located over their eyes.