What Do Frog Feet Look Like?

It may come to you as a surprise but not all frog feet look the same. Depending on the species, some frogs live in trees, on land, or in water, and therefore have bodies adapted to thrive in their ideal environment.

Frogs that live in trees have padded toes on their feet that are made to stick to vegetation and allow them to climb. Frogs that live in water have webbed feet and long powerful legs that make them excellent swimmers. And frogs that live on land (like toads) have finger-like toes made for digging.

Let’s have a look at each of these types of frog feet and toes that empower frogs to thrive in their natural habitat. Learn more about the different types of frogs including aquatic, arboreal and terrestrial frogs in this article on our blog.

Many Frogs Have Webbed Feet For Swimming

As a general rule, frogs with webbed feet are powerful swimmers that live in water. Frogs with webbed feet like Bullfrogs can quickly swim away from predators.

Frogs that live in water (aquatic frogs) tend to have webbed feet which act like flippers that propel them in the water. Having webbed toes allows frogs to have more velocity and swim faster by pushing the water behind them with more force and volume.

Many frogs only have webbing on their hind feet only. Others have webbing on both their hind feet and front feet. For example, African Dwarf Frogs have webbing on all their feet since they spends the vast majority of their time in water.

Examples of Frogs with webbed feet include American Bullfrogs, Leopard Frogs, Pig Frogs, Pickerel Frogs, Tarahumara Frog, Common Frogs, African Dwarf Frogs, and Columbia Spotted Frogs.

Tree Frogs Have Sticky Padded Toes For Climbing

Tree Frogs have feet with sticky pads on each toe that allow them to be excellent climbers that can cling to bark, branches and leaves. Tree Frogs generally have long fingers that allow them to wrap around small branches and hold on to them without falling.

Tree Frogs toes act like suction cups that stick to smooth surfaces. Tree Frogs can even stick to glass! They generally have small, light bodies that allow them to stick to leaves witout falling. 

Examples of Tree Frogs with padded toes include Spring Peeper, Australian Tree Frogs, Gray Treefrogs, Red-Eyed Tree Frogs, Holarctic Tree Frogs, and White-Lipped Tree Frogs.

Toads Have Fingers Made For Digging

Toads have feet with finger-like, sometimes pointed or spaded digits allowing them to be excellent diggers. Toads do not climb, swim or jump very well since their legs are short, but their fingers and toes allow them to dig and crawl very well.

Toads dig backwards using their hind feet to push dirt out of the way, left and right, until they gradually dig themselves into a hole and can burrow in the moist ground. This helps them stay cool, humid, and avoid predators. Spadefoot Toads also have a distinct long, claw-like middle spade on their hind feet made for digging.

Look at this little toad’s yellow hand

They may have some webbing on their hind feet, but they are generally made more for digging than for swimming. Instead, toads prefer to crawl to get around, and their feet are perfectly adapted to this kind of movement.

Examples of frogs with finger-like toes include Common European Toads (Bufo Bufo), Spadefoot Toads, Great Plains Toad, Yosemite Toad, Eastern American Toad and Canadian Toads.

Some Frogs Have Webbed Feet For Flying

Flying Frogs generally jump from trees and float in the air until they reach their destination thanks to the webbing between their toes. They do not actually fly like birds, but can glide after a powerful jump thanks to their webbed feet. 

Flying Frogs jump from tree to tree to avoid predators and sometimes have to “fly” or glide to get there. In order to do so, they spread open their webbed feet to glide and direct their movement, and use them like a parachute to land safely.

Examples of Flying Frogs include Wallace’s Flying Frog, Malabar Gliding Frog, Rhacophorus Reinwardtii, Chinese flying frog, Malayan Flying Frogs, and Rhacophorus Pseudomalabaricus (CTNF).

Some Frogs Have Webbed “Claws”

Some frogs have what look like “claws”, or “strange smooth feet”, that are actually long digits attached by webbing. Clawed Frogs use their feet to swim and break up their food.

African Clawed Frogs have three short “claws” on each hind foot. These frogs use their feet to look for food and eat by scooping food into their mouths and pushing it down their throat. African Clawed Frogs also use the claws on their feet to rip apart large food. Clawed Frogs are completely aquatic and cannot live long outside of water.

Examples of Clawed Frogs include African Clawed Frogs, African Dwarf Frogs, Silurana, Müller’s Platanna, Marsabit Clawed Frogs, Volcano Clawed Frogs, and Western Clawed Frogs.

Frog Tadpoles Have Tiny Feet

Frog tadpoles have tiny feet that develop in the later stages of their tadpole metamorphosis. But tadpoles do not use their feet to swim and rely on their tails until they become froglets 14 to 16 weeks after hatching from their eggs. 

We added this one for fun 🙂 Look at those tiny tadpole feet, aren’t they cute? 

Learn more about the frog life cycle in this article on our blog or in the video below:

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How Many Toes Do Frogs Have?

As a general rule, a frog’s front legs both have four toes on each foot, while their back legs have five toes on each foot. Frog toes may be webbed, padded or finger-like.

Do Frogs Have Feet Or Paws?

Frogs have feet that can be webbed, padded, fingered or spaded, whereas animals that have claws and pads, like cats and dogs, have paws. Depending on the species, frogs’ feet allow them to swim, climb or dig.

What Is The Function Of Feet For Frog?

Frogs feet can be webbed for swimming or flying, padded for climbing, or spaded for digging. Frogs have feet that are configured differently and have different functions depending on the species and their habitat.

What Do Frog Feet Look Like?

As a general rule, aquatic frog feet look like flippers with four toes on each hind foot attached by webbing. Arboreal frog feet look like fingers with suction cups on the end for climbing. And toad feet look like claws made for digging.

How Many Toes Do Frogs Have?

As a general rule, frog’s front feet have 4 toes each, and their back feet have 5 toes each. Frog’s toes may be attached by webbing, or separate and spaded or padded with suction-like cups for climbing.

What Kind Of Frog Has Webbed Feet?

Frogs that have webbed feet include Bullfrogs, Leopard Frogs, Pig Frogs, Pickerel Frogs, Tarahumara Frog, Common Frogs, Blanchard’s Cricket Frog, and Columbia Spotted Frogs.

Sources

Tinsley, R.; Minter, L.; Measey, J.; Howell, K.; Veloso, A.; Núñez, H. & Romano, A. (2009). “Xenopus laevis”. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2009: e.T58174A11730010. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009.RLTS.T58174A11730010.en.