Family Pyxicephalidae

Tomopterna natalensis (Smith, 1849)

Natal Sand Frog, Natal Pyxie, Natalse Sandpadda (A)

By A. Channing

Currently accepted name: Tomopterna natalensis
Red listing status: Least Concern

Photo by Jessnitz V, 2012. URL: FrogMAP: 785


T. natalensis is recorded from Botswana, Zimbabwe and southern Mozambique and its distribution extends into the eastern part of the atlas region, where it occurs from sea level to the high inland plateau at 2000 m. It is largely absent from the upper slopes of the Drakensberg. It is a common species in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, as well as in the eastern parts of North West and Eastern Cape provinces and throughout Swaziland. The species is uncommon in the Free State and Lesotho.

The distribution map is reasonably complete and accurate in relation to the present taxonomic status and diagnosis of this species. However, the description of additional cryptic species (unpubl. data) may necessitate a re-examination of the distribution of this species. Distribution records should in future be accompanied by recordings of the advertisement calls.


T. natalensis is found in a variety of vegetation types in the Grassland and Savanna biomes. These areas receive annual rainfall of 300–>1000 mm. Breeding takes place in streams, rivers or other places where water flows slowly, but also in standing water.

Life history

Breeding begins after the first rains, continuing into midsummer. Males call from exposed positions near the water’s edge, on bare sand, mud or rock. The eggs are usually laid singly or in small groups, in running water. Development is rapid and is completed within 2–3 weeks.

The only recorded predator is the Brown House Snake Lamprophis fuliginosus.


Pending the results of future distribution surveys (see remarks under Distribution), this widespread species does not appear to require conservation action.

Current distribution map

Undated records;  pre-1996;  1996 to 2002;  2003 to present


  • Web:
    FrogMAP. 2023. Tomopterna natalensis (Smith, 1849). Animal Demography Unit. Accessed from; on 2023-12-01 08:12:30.
  • Book:
    Minter L.R., Burger M., Harrison J.A., Braack H.H., Bishop P.J. & Kloepfer D. (eds). 2004. Atlas and Red Data book of the frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. SI/MAB Series no. 9. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Published by the Smithsonian Institution and the Avian Demography Unit (now Animal Demography Unit).