Frog Eggs: Everything There is to Know

Frog eggs are wonderful and complex embryos that transform into incredible tadpoles. The first time I saw frog eggs when I was a kid I thought it was a bunch of chia seeds someone threw into a pond. But frog eggs are much more complex than jelly-like dots.

As a general rule, frogs lay 2 to 30,000 eggs once or twice per year depending on the species. Frogs lay eggs during the mating season between March and July in most of the Northern Hemisphere. Frogs reproduce sexually by amplexus and lay eggs in water among vegetation so they do not float away.

Let’s have a closer look at some of the most common questions about frog eggs including when they are laid, where frog eggs may be found, how frogs lay eggs, and how many eggs frogs may lay.

How do Frogs Lay Eggs?

As a general rule, frogs reproduce by amplexus through external fertilization. The female frog releases her eggs into the water and the male frog simultaneously releases sperm cells which fertilize the eggs.

How do frogs mate-min

Frog eggs are made of a female frog’s embryo that is fertilized by the male frog. Once a male and female frog of the same species are in amplexus (the male on the female’s back), and in water, the female releases her unfertilized ovum into the water while the male simultaneously releases sperm cells to fertilize them, rendering the eggs zygotes, or newly fertilized eggs.

Learn more about how frogs reproduce in the complete guide on our blog

When do Frogs Lay Eggs?

Frogs generally lay eggs once per year during the Mating Season which is commonly between March and July in the Northern Hemisphere. Frogs in dry climates lay eggs during the Wet Season. Frogs that live in tropical climates may reproduce multiple times at any time of the year.

Most frogs lay their eggs in Spring, but the reproduction time will predominantly depend on the specific species, location, and overall climate. Some frog species may lay their eggs in spring or summer, while frogs living in tropical habitats may be able to lay their spawn all year round due to high humidity levels.

Frogs lay eggs at different times of the year and at different frequencies depending on the species, their environment, and location:

ClimateClutches (Yearly)Frog Reproduction
High-Latitude1June to July
Mid-Lattitude1 or 2March to July
Dry1Wet Season
TropicalAll YearAll Year

Generally, frogs that are located in the Northern United States, Canada, and Northern Europe only lay eggs once per year during the Spring and hibernate during Winter. Frogs located in climates with Wet and Dry Seasons may reproduce once during the Wet Season and then estivate during the Dry Season.

However, frogs that are located in tropical climates like in the Amazon Forest may reproduce multiple times throughout the entire year since the climate is favorable to their wellbeing.

Find out when frogs lay eggs in our complete guide

Where do Frogs Lay Eggs?

Frogs lay eggs in calm freshwater among vegetation so their eggs can anchor and avoid washing away downstream. Frogs generally lay their eggs in marshes, swamps, bogs, ponds, and very calm areas of lakes among or below vegetation.

Most frog species prefer to lay their eggs in water bodies within their habitats. Some frogs may choose water with little or no fish to avoid these predators feeding on their eggs. Frogs may also lay eggs in places where they should not, like in a swimming pool. If this happened to you be sure to read our guide on how to safely remove frog eggs from a pool. However, some frogs spawn on land.

Let’s have a closer look at where frogs lay eggs.

Most Frogs Lay Eggs In Water

Frogs require water to reproduce for their eggs to absorb the water around them to form a protective jelly to keep them safe. Absorbing water allows the eggs to cluster together, grow in size, and stick to what is around them to anchor down.

Once laid, the frog eggs absorb the water around them and form a jelly. This allows the eggs to stick to vegetation and ground themselves to avoid floating away. The jelly also enlarges the spawn making them too big for certain predators to eat while protecting them from bacteria.

Frog Lifecycle-min

Frog eggs generally need moisture to transform into tadpoles, and tadpoles need moisture to develop into healthy froglets. But, there are quite a few factors that frog eggs need to continue their metamorphic journey.

The water temperature is an important factor for tadpoles, as relatively warm temperatures aid their development in numerous ways. The overall weather generally influences the water’s temperature in the region, but humidity levels and moderate sunlight may also aid in their development.

Frogs typically lay their eggs in areas near aquatic vegetation to keep their frogspawn safe. Being located in these areas helps protect them from potential predators while helping them stay put so that they do not float away in stronger currents. Once the tadpoles emerge from the zygotes, tadpoles also need aquatic vegetation for shelter and food sources to survive.

See where frogs lay eggs in the complete guide on our blog

Some Frogs Lay Eggs On Land

As a general rule, frogs lay eggs in water, reproduce sexually, externally, and by amplexus. However, some frogs can give birth to tadpoles or young frogs on land, like the Fanged Frog that can directly give birth to live tadpoles, and African toads can give birth to toadlets.

Although this method is less common than frogs laying eggs in water, some frog species have adapted their survival and reproductive methods to lay their eggs on land. While frog eggs and tadpoles typically need moisture for survival and development, these frog species have generally adapted to survive in drier conditions. 

Frog SpeciesWhere They Lay Their Eggs
Solomon Island Leaf FrogsLays their eggs in clusters in the ground
Glass FrogsLay eggs on leaves in trees above streams and rivers
Bombay Night FrogsLays their eggs on leaves in trees

Some frogs have varying strategies when laying their eggs in terrestrial or arboreal environments. Above are some of the most well-known examples of frogs that lay their eggs in various locations on land. 

Morelet’s Tree Frog Eggs

Still, this sort of approach is far more common within tropical terrestrial species, as the humid and generally moist conditions make it easier for frogspawn to develop. Some frog species bury their eggs in the soil, allowing them to absorb the necessary moisture from their environment.

Various arboreal frog species may also lay their eggs on leaves or in trees, typically positioned above rivers and streams. This allows the frog eggs to develop in moderate safety while still allowing them to drop down into the water body once they develop into tadpoles. 

Such tactics increase the frog eggs’ survival chances, as frog eggs are far more vulnerable to predators and other dangers. Tadpoles, on the other hand, are mobile and flexible with the capacity to evade potential threats. 

See where frogs lay eggs in the complete guide on our blog

Do All Frogs Lay Eggs? Do Some Frogs Give Birth?

While most frogs lay eggs in water or on land, there are a few exceptions. Some frog species utilize more creative and unique methods for reproduction, which are influenced by a wide range of motives.

There are approximately a dozen frog species that utilize internal fertilization, according to scientists. However, many of the specific practices used by these species are still a mystery. Some of these frog species may still lay eggs on land or in aquatic spaces, while others do not lay eggs at all. 

Examples of frogs that follow unique reproductive practices include the following:

Frog SpeciesGenderReproduction TacticsOutcome
Fanged FrogsFemale The male frog fertilizes the female eggs internallyOnly known frog species that gives birth to live tadpoles
Darwin FrogsMale Swallows the eggs and carries them in the body near the vocal sac until fully formedRegurgitates the eggs once they are fully developed, producing live froglets

Scientists and researchers have identified quite a few reasons as to why some species give birth to their young rather than laying eggs. While humans will never know the causes for certain, it is assumed that the predominant influence is the potential for increased survival chances. 

  • Frog Egg Predators: When frog eggs are left to develop in communal habitats, plenty of predatory species will feast on them if they are given the opportunity. Housing the fertilized frog eggs inside the body can be far more beneficial for the frog eggs in question, as the parent frog’s body acts as their primary form of defense. 
  • Sexual Selection: A new theory proposed by researchers is the possibility of strategic mating, where males can escape from rivals. The tradition may have been passed on within certain frog species, and male frogs can use the strategy to ensure their DNA is passed on. 

See which frogs give birth in the complete guide on our blog

How Many Eggs do Frogs Lay?

As a general rule, frogs lay 2 to 30,000 eggs once or twice per year depending on the species and climate. Poison Dart frogs generally lay multiple clutches of 2 to 12 eggs throughout the year, Spring Peeper lay 900 to 1000 eggs once per year, and Cane Toads may lay up to 30,000 eggs twice per year.

Here are how many eggs frogs lay and how often depending on the species:

Frog SpeciesYearly Number of ClutchesNumber of Eggs
Poison Dart Frog1-42-12
American Green Tree Frog1200-400
Spring Peeper1900-1000
Australian Green Tree Frog11000-2000
Common Frog11000-2000
Pacman Frog11000-2000
Northern Leopard Frog11000-6000
Green Frogs11000 -7000
African Bullfrog13000-4000
American Bullfrog115,000-25,000
Cane Toad1-220,000-30,000

How many frogs are born at once depends on the frog species and their environment as frogs located in tropical areas tend to lay eggs throughout the year, whereas frogs in dry and high latitude climates lay eggs once per year during the Wet Season, or Spring.

Frogs generally lay a large number of eggs to ensure the survival of their species. Frogs have thousands of predators that live above and in the water with their eggs, and frog eggs have no defense mechanisms. Therefore, laying a large number of eggs is a way to help ensure the survival of their species (CTNF).

Find out why frogs lay so many eggs in this guide on our blog

Are Toad Eggs Different From Frog Eggs?

Toads lay eggs in long parallel strings, whereas frogs lay eggs in large clusters. Toad eggs may look like a string of beads, whereas frog eggs may look like a big blob of water-soaked chia seeds.

Toad tadpoles are also different from frog tadpoles once they transform. Frog tadpoles have golden speckles all over their bodies that shine in the sun, whereas toad tadpoles are generally all dark brown or black and tend to blend in more with their environment.

Toad eggs and their tadpoles are poisonous since all toads are poisonous. However, not all frogs are poisonous, so not all frog eggs or tadpoles are poisonous either. Having poisonous eggs and tadpoles can provide toads with a certain survival advantage over frogs.

Find out everything there is to know about toad eggs in the complete guide on our blog

How To Get Rid Of Frog Eggs

Frog eggs are wonderful to observe evolving in their natural habitat. But they may become a problem if they are on your property, especially if you find them in your pool.

While it may be frustrating to discover frog spawn on your property, these innocent creatures should not be stripped of their ability to grow and live normal lives. They should always be treated with respect, regardless of the approaches used. Join me as I we discuss how you can get rid of frog eggs without harming them.

Frog eggs can be relocated to an appropriate water body within 1km of your home using a mesh net and water-filled bucket. There are risks involved when removing and relocating fragile frog eggs, and certain frog species may need to be handled by a Wildlife Department depending on local laws. 

Check out our guide to learn how to safely relocate frog eggs off your property

More About Frog Eggs

Frog eggs are not just chia-seed-looking blobs in water. They are complex creatures that transform multiple times until they can hop and live on land. Frogs have adapted a wide range of tactics and methods for reproducing, including laying eggs in water or on land and even giving birth to froglets or tadpoles. But, despite the inherent differences, all methods prioritize the survival chances of their young. 

Learn more about frogs and their eggs in the following guides on our blog:

Common Questions About Frog Eggs

Do frogs lay eggs? As a general rule, frogs lay 2 to 30,000 eggs once or twice per year depending on the species. Frogs lay eggs during the mating season between March and July in most of the Northern Hemisphere. Frogs reproduce sexually by amplexus and lay eggs in water among vegetation so they do not float away.

Do frogs lay eggs or give birth? As a general rule, frogs lay eggs in water, but Fanged Frog can give birth to live tadpoles, and African toads can give birth to toadlets, an adaptation they have adopted due to the lack of water to breed in.

What does a frog laying eggs look like? A frog laying eggs looks like two frogs on top of each other, a female on the bottom and the male on the top, with the female releasing eggs one at a time through her vent, and the male releasing sperm through his vent onto each egg.

What frogs lay eggs on land? The vast majority of frogs lay eggs in water, however, African toads, Fanged Frogs, Glass Frogs, Morelet’s Tree Frogs, and Solomon Island Leaf Frogs may carry their eggs, lay them on land or above water.

Which frogs do not reproduce like other frogs? Some frogs do not reproduce by amplexus or use external fertilization. Bombay Night Frogs lay eggs in trees, Poison Dart Frogs lay eggs in temporary puddles, male Darwin Frogs swallow their kin until they can jump out of their mouths, and Fanged Frogs reproduce internally.

What frogs don’t lay eggs? The vast majority of frogs lay eggs but African toads can give birth to toadlets, Fanged Frogs can give birth to tadpoles, and male Darwin Frogs carry their kin until they can hop out of their mouths.

Do frogs stay with their eggs? The vast majority of frogs species do not remain with their eggs. However, certain frog species remain with their eggs such as male Darwin Frogs swallow their kin until they can jump out of their mouths, or male African Bullfrogs that ensure their eggs always have access to water.

Sources

Berkley News, Sexual rivalry may drive frog reproductive behaviors, 2016