Weighing in excess of a kilogram, the African giant bullfrog (Pyxicephalus adspersus) is the largest frog in southern Africa and one of the largest in the world. So what makes these giants of the amphibian world so hard to find?

During the dry season, bullfrogs live in underground burrows, which they dig with their powerful hind legs. Certain areas of their range can be completely dry for most of the year, with surface temperatures of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In order to avoid water loss, the frogs wrap themselves in a cocoon of dead skin and enter into a state of low metabolic activity known as aestivation, subsisting on their fat and moisture reserves.

For several years during our safari travels, we’d hoped to witness the re-emergence of these amphibians from their underground lairs, and in January 2017, we finally had the good fortune to be in the right place at the right time, on the fringes of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana. Heavy rains triggered the re-emergence of these frenzied frogs, and they tunnelled back to the surface, ready to breed in the shallow, temporary waters.

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Images & words: Chris & Monique Fallows, unless other specified