Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Smooth Horned Frog

©Chris Knowles

©Chris Knowles

Class: Amphibia



Scientific Name: Proceratophrys boiei

IUCN Red List status: Least Concern

Protected by the following WLT projects:


Species Range (IUCN)


Patchy brown colouring, warts all over their body and pointed ‘horns’ provide the Smooth Horned Frogs with excellent camouflage among the fallen dead leaves (3). This helps them stay unseen during their sit-and-wait approach to hunting (2) and keeps them hidden from predators.


Smooth Horned Frogs spawn in temporary slow-flowing water within or near boundaries of the forest (1). Recently metamorphosed young are ~18mm long and adults reach 50-75mm (2). They have a large mouth, around 50% of their body length, which allows them to consume relatively large prey such as beetles, crickets, spiders, cockroaches and even smaller frogs (2).

When provoked, their defensive behaviour is to flatten their body, stretch their rear legs backwards and front legs forwards and remain motionless for several minutes (4). This confuses predators which rely on visual detection, as they look even more like fallen leaves and, if caught, such a posture makes them difficult swallow.

Smooth Horned Frog
Smooth Horned Frog amongst the leaf litter of the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest. Photo © Chris Knowles.


The Smooth Horned Frog is a common leaf litter dwelling species endemic to Brazil. Inhabiting the coastal stretch of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, it is found throughout the primary and secondary highland and mountain forests and also in recently degraded areas (1).

Threats and Conservation

Key threats faced by the frog are habitat loss due to deforestation and being taken for the pet trade (1).

Learn more

See IUCN Red List of Threatened Species for more information on the classification of the Smooth Horned Frog


  1. IUCN Red List website:
  2. Giaretta, et al. (1998) Food habits and ontogenetic diet shifts of the litter dwelling frog proceratophrys boiei (wied). Rev. Bras. Zool. [online], 15 (2), pp. 385-388.
  3. Heyer, et al. (1990) Frogs of Boraceia, Arquivos de Zoologia, 31 (4), pp. 231-410.
  4. Toledo, L. F. and J. Zina (2004) Proceratophrys boiei (Smooth Horned Frog) - Defensive behavior. Herpetological Review, 35 (4), pp. 375.
  5. Rocha, C.F.D., et al. (2007) A survey of the leaf-litter frog assembly from an Atlantic forest area (Reserva Ecológica de Guapiaçu) in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, with an estimate of frog densities. Tropical Zoology 20: 99-108.
Bookmark and Share

Read about us

  • News Online
  • RSS
  • eBulletin
  • Green Diary
  • Printed Newsletter

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1986 874422

Follow us

Follow on Facebook  Follow on Twitter  Follow on Linkedin  Follow on GooglePlus  Follow on YouTube