Zoo celebrates breeding success of Thao whipping frog

Keepers at Paignton Zoo have bred an exotic species of frog for the first time.

The zoo released an image of a young Thao whipping frog on top of an adult of the same species to mark World Frog Day on Wednesday.

There are a number of names for the exotic frog, including Thao whipping frog, Fea’s tree frog or Fea’s flying frog – though the scientific name is Rhacophorus feae.

The “whipping” part of the name comes from the way females use their back legs to create a foamy nest for eggs.

Dr Katy Upton, senior keeper at Paignton Zoo, said of the creatures: “This is our first time breeding them.

“We raised the temperatures by a couple of degrees and moved them into a larger specialist breeding enclosure, then increased the humidity and sprays.

“The enclosure is half water with a land area planted with bamboo and large bamboo canes for them to sit on.

“Within a couple of days of being in this enclosure, they spawned.”

There is currently no European Endangered species programme or studbook for the species, the zoo said.

Dr Upton said it was not the first time the species had been bred in the UK but described it as a “great achievement”.

The species is one of the largest tree frogs in the world and has long toes with strong webbing in between them, allowing it to drop from a tree and slow its fall to a glide.

Frothy nests created by female frogs tend to be near or above water, with the tadpoles dropping in when they hatch.

A spokesman for Paignton Zoo added: “This species is threatened by habitat loss and collecting for food.”