As every dog owner knows, walking through the forest with your "best friend" can sometimes lead to a bit of unforeseen conflict with the local wildlife. But a shrieking frog that looks like the Junk Lady from Jim Henson's Labyrinth isn't the usual suspect. 

(If you have dogs in the house, you might want to pull out those headphones. This frog gives the Nazgûl a run for their money.)

Meet the Cape rain frog (Breviceps gibbosus). While we suggest you avoid poking inflated amphibians with umbrellas, this rare encounter shows that small does not equal defenceless in the animal kingdom.

The video was shot by Cape Town local Simon van Nierop, whose dogs discovered the bizarre creature during a casual walk through Tokai Forest, a wooded section of Table Mountain National Park.

The animal looks more Pokémon than most Pokémon, but there's a good chance it also looks familiar. That's because its cousin, the Namaqua rain frog, wowed the internet several years ago with its impressive (and much less demonic) "squee":

Like its close relative, the Cape rain frog is tiny, measuring in at just 4.5 centimetres (under 2 inches) when fully grown. Given that small stature, it's hard to believe that this was actually the first species of South African frog discovered by famed naturalist Carl Linnaeus back in 1758.

As you can see, rain frogs have a knack for inflating themselves to appear larger, but that trick does more than just scare off would-be predators: it also allows them to float on water. Unlike some species, Cape rain frogs can't swim. They're burrowers, with very short, muscular legs to match. In fact, they aren't well-equipped for walking long distances either, and are known for their waddle-like gait. 

Their subterranean lifestyles also mean these crazy critters help aerate local soils, allowing plants and crops to flourish in the same locations the frogs call home. This has led some local communities to view Cape rain frogs as bringers of good fortune. 


Top header image: Anton Potgeiter/Wikimedia Commons