While millions of Chinese have recently become obsessed with a mobile game about a traveling frog, a man in Chongqing has been raising amphibians as pets for years -- and has turned his hobby into a promising business, according to Monday's China Daily.
Li Shu, 31, used to be a Sichuan Opera singer and owned a dance club. But he loved collecting weird things, and in 2006, he bought an ornate horned frog at a pet market.
"I had never seen a frog with such beautiful colors," Li was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "My life changed then, and now it's all about my frogs."
Li was besotted with the little creature and would check on it throughout the day to see its growth. He began to collect more pet frogs, too.
He discovered that no one in China had the technology or experience to breed pet frogs and that all the horned frogs in the country were imported. Without any related background, he had the bold idea to breed them domestically and even sold his dance club.
Li built a frog farm in suburban Chongqing and started his breeding project. Everyday, he feeds and washes the frog, and records their activities to find out the proper ways to breed them.
In the winter of 2013, an infectious disease killed more than 200 frogs at the farm and only 20 survived, which was a huge blow to Li's research and put him in debt. But he did not give up and became the first person in China to breed horned frogs.
Now his farm is the country's largest frog breeding base with dozens of species. Some unique ones sell for as much as 10,000 yuan (about 1,587 U.S. dollars).
"Chinese frog lovers don't need to buy imported frogs anymore," Li said, adding that he now plans to develop some new species and make a contribution to conservation.