Ritualized Frog

Part of the Frogs: A Chorus of Colors exhibition.

Some groups of Amazonian Indians use monkey frogs in tribal rituals. Secretions from the frog's skin are mixed with human saliva and rubbed into open wounds. Humans experience pain and gastric distress prior to feeling energized and refreshed. This induced "high" is thanks to the monkey frog's skin toxins, which include powerful hallucinogens and chemicals that affect blood pressure.


© Philippe Kok

Giant waxy monkey frog, Phyllomedusa bicolor

Giant Waxy Monkey Frog

Phyllomedusa bicolor

Class: Amphibia
Family: Hylidae
Size: 3 ¼ to 5 inches
Food: Any small animal it can catch, mostly insects
Range: Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon
Habitat: Trees in primary and secondary forest and clearings
Life Cycle: Males call from high above the ground and descend to branches just above ponds to mate. The call is a loud "cluck" followed by several short, lower-pitched notes.