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Japanese folk hero Jiraiya riding a giant toad

In the legends of Japan, there are tales of legendary giant toads that live in remote mountains and rivers far from humans. Ōgama (大蝦蟇) rarely come into contact with humans due to their remote habitat, but it does occasionally happen. When they rest, they are large enough that they can be mistaken for a large boulder or other natural mass, and a foolish person might accidentally sit on them. When provoked, they are clever enough to wield spears and chase after humans. When they reach sizes of over three meters, they begin to see humans as food.


Toad legends can be found all over Japan. Ōgama appear in a number of Edo Period story collections, including Ehon hyakumonogatari and Hokuetsu kidan, but superstitions about toads go back much further. Toads living deep in the mountains tended to grow larger than those living closer to humans. This may have given rise to the idea that the deepest, most remote mountains might be home to truly gigantic toads.


Giant marine toad

Giant Marine Toad (Bufo marinus)

Ōgama have been sighted in Miyagi Prefecture and Niigata Prefecture. Most modern sightings are misidentifications of the invasive Bufo marinus, or Giant Marine Toad/Cane Toad. Unusually big specimens have been recorded to weight 2.7-kilogram (5.9-pounds). In Japan, Marine Toads are found in Ogasawara (Chichijima and Hahajima Is.), Daito (Kita-daitojima and Minami-daitojima Is.), and Sakishima (Ishigakijima, Iriomotejima, and Hatomajima Is.) Islands. They are indigenous to Central and South America.