Fascinating Frog Facts

What are the world’s biggest frogs?

In North America, the biggest frog is the plump American bullfrog, but the goliath frog of West Africa is the biggest frog in the world. It can grow more than one foot (30 cm) long and weigh as much as a baby or a small dog. That’s a giant frog!!

How small are the smallest frogs?

Various tree frogs are as tiny as can be — about pea-sized. I often see tiny tree frogs popping out of the grass and hopping along the paths in my neighborhood park. They are no bigger than pencil erasers.

What are tadpoles?

Tadpoles hatch from frog eggs and are the first life stage of frogs. Most tadpoles live in water and breathe through gills. As tadpoles change into frogs, they grow legs, lose their tails, and develop spines and lungs.

How do frogs breathe?

In lakes and ponds, frogs absorb oxygen from the water through their special skin. Out of water, frogs continue to absorb oxygen (from the air) through their skin. However, on land, frogs also breathe through nostrils like we do.

How far can frogs leap?

Some frogs can leap two or three meters — many times the length of their small bodies. Flying tree frogs are the longest leapers. These frogs live in tropical rain forests. When they leap from tree branches, they can sail several meters. Special webbing between their finger and toe pads stretches out like little kites to help them glide.

Are frogs slimy?

Yes and no. Some frogs are slimy and some are not. Many frogs have a (slimy) mucus layer on their skin that helps keep their skin moist, so it can absorb oxygen. A wet frog right from the pond can be extra slippery indeed — almost impossible to hold. Other frogs have rough skin that isn’t slimy at all.

Why are frogs difficult to find?

Frogs can look remarkably like the mud, rocks, and leaves of the places where they live. This frog looks almost like the sand it’s sitting on, doesn’t it? Camouflage (blending in with one’s habitat or home) helps keep frogs hidden from the birds and animals that like to eat them.

Why are some frogs brightly colored?

Most frogs are green, gray, or brown like their habitat. However, some tropical frogs are bright red or blue — instead of blending in, they stand out. These frogs are often poisonous, and their bright colors are a warning to predators: “Don’t eat me — I’m dangerous!!”

How are frogs and toads different?

Toads are types of frogs. In general, toads have shorter legs — so rather than leaping, toads crawl and take short hops. Toads often have bumpier, drier skin than other frogs, but not always.

Do toads have warts?

Nope. The bumps on frogs and toads are glands. Some of the glands secrete mucus to keep frogs nice and slippery. Other glands secrete toxins that make their skin taste yucky to predators.

Why do frogs have such big eyes?

To see, of course! Frogs can see all around and even somewhat behind themselves. Bulging eyes are also good for peeking above the surface of a lake or pond. In this way, frogs can watch for surprise predators from the sky, like hungry hawks. When frogs swallow, they squeeze their eyes shut. Their big eyes press down on the roofs of their mouths and help push the food down.

What do frogs eat?

Most frogs eat insects, like flies, spiders, and grasshoppers. Larger frogs also eat worms, fish, lizards, snakes, or even mice. Frogs catch their food with long tongues that dart quickly out of their mouths, capture prey, and then pull these meals back into their mouths. It all happens in an instant!

Do frogs sleep?

Yes and no. Scientists think that tree frogs sleep, but that other frogs rest rather than truly sleep. Frogs that rest close their eyes and remain very still for long periods of time, but their brains stay alert, so they can leap away quickly if danger appears. Frogs are nocturnal, which means they are especially active at night. Frogs catch up on their sleep or rest during the day.

What is a “frogsicle?”

In the cold and snow of winter, frogs snuggle down into muddy lake bottoms or bury themselves under soil and leaves to hibernate. Their hearts don’t beat, and they don’t breathe. They appear to be solid as ice cubes (I think of them as “frogsicles!”), but a special sugar in their bodies prevents their organs from freezing completely. In spring, frogs thaw and wake up!

Why are frogs important?

Frogs, like every living creature, play an important role in the food chain. Frogs eat an enormous number of insects. Meanwhile frogs are needed food for birds and animals. Frogs also tell us about the health of our waterways and wild spaces. If frogs are unhealthy, we know that their habitat is polluted, and it needs our help. Not least, frogs are great neighbors. I love listening to a chorus of frog song. It sounds like joy.

How can we help frogs?

The best way we can help frogs is to keep their homes clean and wild. This means protecting our lakes, wetlands, and woodlands from pollution. It also means leaving more of these places wild and free from roads and buildings. In the end, this also helps us. Humans need clean, wild habitat, too.

Learn much more about frogs and frog calls in Frogness.