The first thing you should know about a mountain chicken frog is: it's not a chicken!

It's a frog, a very rare frog, and we're fighting to stop this critically endangered species becoming extinct.

It's one of the world's biggest frogs, sometimes weighing in at more than a kilogram. With powerful back legs, it can jump over a man’s head or more than two metres long. But it's mainly crepuscular or nocturnal, resting in the day (inside burrows, under logs or camouflaged on the leaflitter) and hunting for food at dusk.

It eats insects, snails, spiders, centipedes, sometimes geckoes, smaller frogs and even snakes.

The mountain chicken got its name because its meat tastes like chicken. It was widely hunted as a food source on several Caribbean islands but numbers fell drastically due to hunting, habitat loss, the introduction of invasive species of predators and the latest the fungal disease called Chytridiomycosis which wiped out whole populations in several of the islands.

Today only a small number of these frogs remain on just two islands, Dominica and Montserrat, where hunting it is now illegal. We're working in collaboration with other zoos to help save this critically endangered species through an international breeding programme which could lead to reintroductions in the wild.

We support a breeding and research programme including trialling the release of young adult frogs onto the island of Montserrat and studying ways to combat disease.

We work with universities and researchers to carry out research, much of which is done in three specially built laboratories here at the zoo, called A-Pods. One of the A-Pods is entirely devoted to helping save the mountain chicken.

We also support the conservation of other threatened frog species around the world including Darwin's frog from Chile, Costa Rica's green-eyed frog and the black-eyed tree frog, from Belize.

Find out more about how we're jumping to save amphibians on our Act for Wildlife site here.

Act for Wildlife

To help us continue our vital work to stop this animal from going extinct, please make an online donation here – or text ‘AMPH18 £5’ to 70070 to donate £5 to our amphibian programme.

  • £5 will feed the mountain chicken frogs at the zoo for one day
  • £30 will buy a portable pool for baby frogs
  • £100 will fund a rearing room for mountain chicken babies – fingers crossed we’ll need these in the near future!

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Interesting facts

IUCN Status: Critically endangered

Where they live: Dominica and Montserrat

Habitat: River valleys, ravines, moist forest land, palm groves, near springs and streams

Size: Up to 21cm length

Weight: up to 700g

Threats: Habitat loss; hunting for its meat; disease; natural disaster such as 1997's Montserrat volcano eruption.