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The Return of Sumo

When I first started working at The Manchester Museum, some fifteen years ago, I was dissapointed to find that there was only one frog in the vivarium – but what a magnificent frog it was! It was huge Argentinean Horned Frog, and the records indicated that the beautifully coloured animal had been aquired as an adult some  twelve years earlier. It was amazing.

Developing its educational and conservational use, the live collection  was soon expanded to include a wide variety of unusual and rare frogs. Our first exhibition to start raising public awareness specifically about these wonderful creatures was in 1997 and was called ‘The World of Frogs’ . It was a huge success, and featured many species from around the world, including the Horned Frog, who is aptly named Sumo.

Thinking back, I remember cleaning the inside of the Horned frog exhibit one day when the frog lunged forward and grabbed hold of my thumb in it’s strong jaws. Horned frogs have huge mouths and I can remember how painful and powerful the bite was to this day. The trouble was that I couldn’t actually get the frog off my thumb, and I was surrounded by schoolkids. One little boy asked calmly, as blood ran down my hand, – does it hurt mister? Of course I just grinned and beared it :-).   

Anyway, after the exhibition ended Stapeley Water Gardens wanted to feature the exhibition and Sumo was also provided to them on loan. Last year Sumo also featured in the British Museum’s Darwin Exhibition. With the unfortunate closure of Stapeley Water Gardens, Sumo has now returned to Manchester and resumed pride of place in our Vivarium. I have to say that am ever so grateful to all those who have looked after Sumo over the years and would particularly like to thank Valda Williams from Stapeley for her support.   

Although Sumo is at least 30 years old, we still have no real idea how old Sumo actually is. However,  Sumo  looks as healthy and as bright as ever – and is still a huge star of the Vivarium,

and it seems now of Manchester…….


One Response

  1. Sumo is certainly a brute of a frog – amazing that he looks so spritely considering his ripe old age of over 30! http://www.culture24.org.uk/science+%26+nature/ART308593

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