lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

H is for Hewitt’s Ghost Frog

H.hewitti_Geelhoutboom 11-3-2009 5-26-49 PM

This gorgeous photo of Hewitt’s ghost frog was taken by Werner Conradie and is used by permission.

Hewitt’s ghost frogs are beautiful, with a cross in their eyes and attractive markings – they have a flattened shape which allows them to hide in very small crevices, and strong back legs for swimming against the fast-flowing currents in their native, mountain streams in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.

They also have other adaptations that help them in this habitat, such as large discs on their toes for clinging to rocks to avoid being swept away – their tadpoles have mouths adapted to suction onto rocks for the same reason.

They are one of an ancient family of frogs that split off from modern frogs 160 million years ago.

They are active at night and at dusk and dawn, remaining hidden in rocks, sometimes submerged, during the day. For this reason they are almost impossible to find or see, even during the breeding season.

It is not really known for sure why they are called ghost frogs – some sources say it is because they have been found in Skeleton Gorge on Table Mountain. Another reason cited is that they have white skin on their bellies which is transparent, through which their organs can be seen. One researcher suggested it is because although they can be heard, they are almost impossible to see!

They are listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Here is my Hewitt’s ghost frog poem:


Hewitt’s Ghost Frog


Hidden souls

rarely seen,

ghost frogs

haunt the stream,

whistles echo

from the rocks,

hinting of

covert frogs,

in white, see-

through, pallid, skin –

the spirits of

the night swim.


© Liz Brownlee


If you would like to hop to another A-Z Blog, please click on the logo in the right-hand column!


Information from:

Edge of Existence.


Image © Werner Conradie and used by permission.

Prose and Poem © Liz Brownlee, all rights reserved, not to be used in any manner whatsoever without the permission of the author.



  1. Nice job on your A-Z. Great photos, perfect words and educational too!


  2. I enjoyed the information about the frog – it’s a beautiful one! Your poem is beautiful, too!


  3. I love hearing the frogs singing at night. They speak a language other than rebit rebit . It’s always a word or phrase to me. No I don’t get radio stations through my teeth. It’s just the frogs talking to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brilliant! and in fact frogs very make all sorts of different sounds, something television and film makers often get wrong – using the wrong frog call in the wrong place! Some whistle, like these, some chirp, some cry…


  4. I have been thinking of frogs lately and it felt great to read this post. Your poem is beautiful too!


  5. This was interesting to find out Now the frogs should get some more love


    • I certainly hope so, Birgit – you probably know that because they breathe through their skin, they are an indicator species that alert us to problems in the environment like pollution because they suffer first… we need them!


  6. Very interesting and I really liked your poem!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Cherrie! I’ll be along to see you later.


  7. It is really cool looking. I enjoyed your poem and the information and am adding your A to Z Animal series to my kids required reading. I can’t wait to share it with them in the morning.


    • Thank you, Michelle! I’m so pleased about that! Very happy to answer any questions.


  8. Thea OBrian

    I think your poem matched beautifully myself. Great post.


  9. What a beautiful frog, Liz. I’ve never heard of them before. Enjoyed your poem too!

    Susan A Eames from
    Travel, Fiction and Photos


    • Thank you! Isn’t it gorgeous! There are thousands and thousands of frogs. It would be impossible to know them all!


  10. Beautiful creatures!

    Yvonne V


  11. Beautiful frog and beautiful poem!


  12. I was watching the frogs in the park pool a week ago – nothing like your ghost frog – but still so wonderful to see. Amphibians were always the hardest classification to teach young children – the word isn’t easy!! Lovely to catch up again 🙂
    A Stormy’s Sidekick
    Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace


    • Hello, Pempi! That’s interesting! It is a complicated life-cycle too I guess. Children do seem to like frogs, though.


  13. He is beautiful – or she! Love those eyes.


  14. Thank you for such an awesome blog post . I really love frogs. I’m so glad I found you on the A-Z challenge list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Tyler! I’m glad you found me, too, I’ll be over to see you soon. Thank you! There are more frogs to come. But lots of other animals, as well. I absolutely love them, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh, they’re neat! I like the criss cross eyes. Maybe they are ghost frogs because you so rarely see them (but I assume DO hear them)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, hear, but don’t see! But the scientist/photographer tells me that once you DO find them, they are very easy to take picture of!


  16. What a beautiful poem. Those eyes are so unusual and I wonder how they developed to be like that, but, back to the poem, I love the mood of this and especially love the ending, “the spirits of the night swim.” Out here, we have Western Tree Frogs which are bright or pale green and they, too, love to swim and sing at night. In fact, my pond is alive with them from dusk ’til dawn. Enjoyed your post so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, thank you, Antonia! I have never heard frogs at night. But we have a toad in the garden… goodness knows how, we have a 6ft pink stone walled cottage garden!


  17. I love the poem and surprisingly I have not heard of this frog! I might have to do a feature on it someday!
    @AllysePanaro from
    The Frog Lady

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Allyse! I am pleased I found one you don’t know! I wonder if you’ll know the next ones?

      Liked by 1 person

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