Amphibians are well-known for their ability to traverse land and water in various stages of their lives, but their overall speed is shrouded with questions. Frogs are incredibly diverse, and their physical features and their age, primary habitat, and species generally influences their capacity for movement and speed.
Frogs can reach an average top speed of 10 mph on land, but aquatic frogs can swim up to 50 mph. The average speed at which a frog can move will differ depending on the frog species, their main means of movement, and their direct environment.
While most frogs are faster in water than on land, there are still many differentiations and influential factors to consider. Join us as we discuss how fast frogs are in different contexts and which of their physical features contribute to swift or slow movement.
Frogs Are Not The Fastest Animals
Amphibians are not the speediest creatures out there, as speed is not a primary factor within their lifestyles. Frogs are mostly sedentary, meaning that they usually spend their time in one place apart wile hunting or mating.
Although some frogs actively hunt their food, many frog species are ambush predators and hide and wait for their prey to come to them as opposed to chasing them down like many other animals.
The only time frogs generally travel far distances is when in search of water or locations for mating during breeding seasons, and they typically do not travel in a rush. Frogs use cues in their habitat and cautiously make their way to their destinations, which commonly entails slow and methodical movement rather than speed.
How Fast Are Frogs On Land?
Frogs are fairly slow on land, and they often resort to hiding or climbing to evade danger. The average top speed of frogs approximates at 10 mph on land, which represents the speed that a frog may reach while hopping or jumping at full momentum, although this figure does vary between frog species.
However, this average figure does not necessarily reflect the speed of continuous and steady movement since frogs traverse their surroundings with intermittent bursts of movement, rather than a stream of consistent locomotion. The total speed is generally determined using a combination of how fast a frog can crawl, how fast a frog can hop, and the distance covered by a single leap.
Terrestrial species may have more power behind their leap, as they often have more muscular builds and robust hind legs. Arboreal species may have more feeble leaps on the ground, but they can climb with great speed or make great strides between tree branches. Many arboreal frogs can leap great heights, some of which have physical adaptations which allow them to seemingly soar through the air and seemly fly at great speeds.
How Fast Are Frogs Underwater?
Aquatic frogs are much faster underwater on a broad scale, which is generally amplified by the presence of webbed feet. This means that aquatic frog species are generally much faster swimmers compared to arboreal or terrestrial species, although most frogs are generally more speedy underwater than on land.
Some aquatic frogs are known to be able to swim at speeds of up to 50 mph, depending on numerous factors including size, species, and presence of webbed feet. The enhanced speed of swimming is generally supported by their powerful hind legs and streamlined bodies.
A study into frog swimming patterns (Jizhuang et al. 2017) discovered that aquatic frog swimming styles are generally faster and more efficient in terms of energy consumption. In contrast, terrestrial swimming patterns are slightly less efficient, requiring more energy.
Here is a summary of their findings:
|Frog Species Type||Propulsive Efficiency While Swimming|
Differences in physical traits and behaviors, such as the foot shape and swimming pattern, have the biggest influence on swimming speed.
What Is The Fastest Frog?
Goliath Frogs (Conraua Goliath) are known as the largest and fastest frogs in the world to date, flaunting a hefty average leap of 10 ft forward. Unlike many smaller frogs with shorter strides, these frogs are very large and can jump fast and far, contributing to their superior speed.
These frogs are enormous and are also known as the largest frogs on Earth. They grow to an average of 14 – 16 inches in length and weigh an average of 7 lbs. Their overall size, muscular build, and powerful hind legs have a massive impact on their agility and speed. While Goliath Frog are faster than expected on land, they are also swift underwater (CTNF). These frogs are agile and speedy swimmers, and they can catch their prey within seconds.
However, Goliath Frogs are currently endangered, according to accredited conservation lists. Their population has plummeted by over 50% in the last 15 years due to habitat loss, hunting, deforestation, commercial agriculture, and climate change.
Can Frogs Run?
Frogs cannot run in a traditional sense, understood as the alternating movement of limbs in cohesion. However, frogs gain high speeds when they hop throughout their environments, which can be compared to running.
That being said, the distance covered from hopping may not be solely due to faster movement, as frogs can leap great distances when they hop. This means that frogs may cover a fair distance compared to an animal that runs, despite a lack of high speed.
However, there are exceptions to the traditional locomotion used by frogs. One exception that has been researched by scientists is the Red-Legged Running Frog (Kassina Maculata), which alternates the hindlimbs during locomotion. Based on studies, it was determined that these frogs use a combination of walking and running gaits (Ahn et al. 2004).
This combined gait, similar to a mammalian gallop, portrayed bouncing and running gaits that may be used at varying speeds. As a result, the Red-Legged Running Frog may use a walking gait despite the movement speed, but it may also use such a gait with lower speeds and switch to a running gait as its speed increases.
More About Frog Speed
Frogs are not very fast creatures on land, but they can be surprisingly speedy underwater with the right conditions. The average speed of various frog species is generally determined by the species, their size, the power of their hind legs and their foot structure, as these factors influence speed both on land and underwater.
Learn more about frog speed on our blog:
Common Questions About Frog Speed
Do Frogs Move Fast or Slow? Frogs move quite slowly on average, as they usually crawl, hop, or jump throughout their habitat while on land. By contrast, many aquatic frogs with webbed feet move quite quickly when underwater, but speed generally depends on the type of frog, size, and physical features.
What is the fastest frog? Goliath Frogs (Conraua Goliath) are known as the largest and fastest frogs in the world with an average leap of 10 ft forward. Unlike many smaller frogs with shorter strides, these frogs are very large and can jump fast and far, contributing to their superior speed.
Jizhuang F, Wei Z, Bowen Y, Gangfeng L. Propulsive efficiency of frog swimming with different feet and swimming patterns. Biol Open. 2017;6(4):503-510. Published 2017 Apr 15. doi:10.1242/bio.022913
Ahn AN, Furrow E, Biewener AA. Walking and running in the red-legged running frog, Kassina maculata. J Exp Biol. 2004 Jan;207(Pt 3):399-410. doi: 10.1242/jeb.00761. PMID: 14691087.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2019. Conraua goliath. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species2019: e.T5263A96062132. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-1.RLTS.T5263A96062132.en.