This bullfrog dives into the water - pulling his opponent off his feet. Mediadrumimages /Temujin Johnson

By Kate Harrold


THESE TEN-INCH male bullfrogs have been caught battling for females in this RARE spectacle that only happens once a year.

A dominant male was photographed with its legs in the air as it grabbed the other male by the neck, pulling it off its feet and down under the water.

In another image, the same male bit down on his competitor’s leg as the weaker frog tried to make a run towards the safety of the edge of the pool.

One bullfrog uses its teeth to bite down on its opponent. Mediadrumimages /Temujin Johnson

Photographer, Temujin Johnson (25), from Cape Town, South Africa, was 50-kilometres north of Polokwane, South Africa, when he captured this incredibly rare sight. Just a few feet away from Temujin, a group of 10-inch male African Bullfrogs gathered to establish a breeding pool.

“This spectacle only happens once a year if the rains are heavy enough. Pools of at least sixty to one-hundred millimetres of water must form in order to draw the bullfrogs out,” Temujin said.

“The dominant males began fighting to establish control over the centre of the pool. African bullfrogs have two protrusions on their lower jaw that act as teeth which enables them to grab and toss their competitors.

The frogs cause quite a splash as their fight for dominance. Mediadrumimages /Temujin Johnson

“Once the centre was established, the males began their calls – a short deep rumble which lasted for a few seconds.

“This attracted the females who tried to swim to the centre of the pool under the surface to reach the dominant males. Sometimes, the younger males – who lurk around the edges of the pool – reach the females first and attach themselves to their backs.

“If this happens, the females don’t lay eggs. Shortly after, the dominant males join the stack until the female is released.”

The dominant male attaches itself to the younger male until he lets go of the female. Mediadrumimages /Temujin Johnson

African bullfrogs are one of the largest species of frog and males can weigh over four-pounds. Following mating, female bullfrogs can lay up to 4,000 eggs whilst males have been known to eat their offspring.

During the dry season, African bullfrogs will hibernate by creating a cocoon out of their mucus. When the rain softens the cocoon, they will know it’s time to emerge. The hibernation period can last up to two years.

“So much happened over a very short period of time so I was continually focussed on getting the best shots,” Temujin said.

If a male is losing, he retreats to the edges of the pool. Mediadrumimages /Temujin Johnson

“The fighting only lasts for a couple of days a year. I was situated a few feet away at the side of the pool as we didn’t want to disturb the frogs too much.

“After a few hours, they were completely comfortable with our presence so we were able to enter the pool to get a lower and better perspective.

“Once the rains have ended, the frogs move off and become solitary once again.”

For more, see @temujin_johnson.