The desert rain frog.

Durban - A 30-second YouTube video shot in the Northern Cape of the “world’s cutest frog”, and its unusual squeak, has had almost 3.5 million hits since it was uploaded just over a week ago – catapulting the creature into the international arena.

Dean Boshoff, 27, photographed the tiny desert rain frog last month while on a camping trip in the Northern Cape, and after expecting only about 50 hits, he’s already been interviewed by CNN New York. National Geographic Africa is also interested.

The Durban man said he found the frog, endemic to a coastal strip of land about 10km wide in Namibia and South Africa, while walking in the sand dunes. It is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.

The small, plump species is easily recognisable by its bulging eyes, short snout, short limbs and, of course, its unusual squeak.

 The video shows the puffed-up frog in defence mode, emitting a high-pitched squeak, which was what first caught Boshoff’s attention.

“When I got back to Durban, I loaded the pictures on to a local reptile site and received a good response,” he said.

The keen photographer and reptile breeder said he decided to upload the video last Wednesday, anticipating a maximum of 50 views. But by the end of the day the video had been viewed 150 times. And the views grew steadily, hitting 100 000 within days.

“It is surreal… I had to pinch myself on Thursday night as I did a Skype interview for CNN.”

Weekend Argus