May you find them slimy and disgusting or beautiful and fascinating, frogs are generally attractive to humans in all stages of our lives from childhood and beyond. We have all seen one. From suburbs to campsites, frogs can live in busy city parks, or in the calm countryside. Like birds in the sky, frogs tend to be present wherever there is water.
But while a frog’s world can seem trivial, these unique creatures can be quite surprising. Frogs do not just live in ponds and swamps, you can safely touch a toad and not get wards, and frogs can jump really far! Here are 20 awesome frog facts that you might not know.
1. Frogs Live in All Kinds of Environments
Frogs can live on lakes, ponds, bogs, marshes, creeks, streams, in forests, trees, mountains, and even in the desert. Frogs can be found all over the world except on some remote islands and on the most extreme poles of the planet.
Frogs need water to breathe through their skin and generally to survive. Many frogs tend to avoid the sun during the day because their skin would dehydrate quickly and so they may burrow during the day to stay moist underground and eat at night while their main predators are less active.
2. There Are Over 7,400 Frog Species
According to AmphibiaWeb.Org, there are over 7,400 frog species that make up 88% of Amphibians, and more frogs are being discovered each year. Over 50 previously undocumented Amphibians were already discovered in 2021 alone.
With so many frog species on the planet, you can imagine there is a lot of variation in size, appearance, and dexterity. You can learn about the wide variety of frog colors and what different species of frogs look like on our blog.
3. Some Frogs Can Climb
Tree Frogs are excellent at climbing. Arboreal frogs, or frogs that live in trees, are generally small in size and have padded toes that allow them to climb and easily stick to trees and leaves.
Examples of Tree frogs include Spring Peepers, Australian Tree Frogs, Red-Eyed Tree Frogs, and Gray Tree Frogs. Contrary to Tree Frogs, Toads are not good at climbing with their short hind legs and stubby bodies. However, they are excellent at digging.
Learn more about Tree Frog in our 20 Awesome Tree Frog Facts post.
4. Frogs Come in 7 Different Main Colors
As a general rule, frogs are different shades of 7 main colors including green, brown, grey, blue, yellow, red, and black. Poison frogs are the most colorful species, and toads are generally brown with warts.
With thousands of frog species comes a wide variety of different colors. Frogs are generally the same color as their environment in order to camouflage and avoid predators. Bright primary colored frogs are generally poisonous and use their color as a self-defense mechanism.
Find out if pink, purple, and rainbow frogs exist in this article on our blog.
5. Croaking Can Be a Mating Call
Frogs croak during mating season to attract mates of the same species but opposite gender. Each frog species has distinct calls including trills, chirps, screams, barks, grunts, peeps, beeps, clucks, croaks, quacks, whistles, bellows, and hoots and their choice of sound depends on their intent.
For example, frogs make sounds to attract a mate, defend their territory, or fend off a predator. And frogs can be very loud singers. The croaking you hear at night can actually be from a frog up to a mile away from you.
Learn more about sounds frogs make and why in this article on our blog.
6. Frogs Are Predators
Frogs eat bugs, mice, shrimp, fish, small birds and smaller frogs. Frogs can be ferocious predators that sit and wait for their prey, or hunt it down.
As a general rule, if the prey is moving, is large enough for the frog to see, but small enough to fit into its mouth, a frog will eat it. If you have a pet frog and wave your finger near them they may even try to bite you (don’t do that of course, it can really hurt).
7. Frogs Are Carnivores
As tadpoles frogs are omnivores, but as baby frogs and adults, they only eat meat. Frogs eat insects, small mammals, small amphibians, small fish, and small birds.
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Frog tadpoles mainly feed on algae, but may also eat phytoplankton. As they grow into baby frogs and adult frogs, they become obligate carnivores meaning that frogs have to have meat in their diets to survive. Frogs eat whole, live prey that they actively or passively hunt.
Learn more about carnivore frogs in this article on our blog.
8. Frogs Are Cannibals
Frogs are cannibals and larger frogs may eat smaller frogs at any stage of their development. A frog tadpole may eat another tadpole if their environment lacks plant-based foods. Large frogs are known to eat frog eggs, tadpoles and smaller frogs.
A 2015 study led by G. John Measey found that the more frog species in a given area results in more cannibalism, and that invasive frogs had a diet that largely consisted of other frogs when compared to native frog species (CTNF).
Learn more about meats frogs in this article on our blog.
9. Frogs Can Jump up to 44x Their Body Length
Generally frogs can jump 1 to 44 times their own body length. American Bullfrogs can jump 213 cm (83 in), and Northern Leopard Frogs can jump 162 cm (64 in).
We all know that aquatic frogs are incredible jumpers, but you might underestimate their abilities. The structure of their legs can allow these creatures to jump incredible distances.
10. Frogs Are Sensitive to Environmental Changes
Although Frogs can inhabit a variety of places, they are sensitive to environmental changes. Frogs need access to clean, unpolluted water to reproduce and to survive.
New and severe swings and changes in weather patterns, droughts, urbanization, pollution, destruction of aquatic areas, and deforestation are devastating to frogs and putting them in danger. Many of the factors endangering frogs are due to human activities.
11. You Can Tell The Age of a Frog Based on Their Bones
Rings inside of frogs bones can provide information on the frog’s age. During hibernation, frogs form a new layer of bone and so just like with trees, one can find out the age of a frog from the rings in its bones.
Frogs are generally eggs for 3 to 25 days, then tadpoles for 14 to 16 weeks, then froglets or baby frogs for 6 to 9 weeks until they grow into adult frogs that can reproduce. It is much harder to tell the age of an adult frog just by looking at it.
Learn more about how long frogs live and what influences longevity in this article on our blog.
12. Frogs Breathe Through Their Skin
Frogs breathe through their skin, lungs, and nostrils. The type of respiration used will vary depending on where the frog is located but their preferred way to breathe is through their skin by absorbing oxygen from water.
Holding frogs is not good for them since they breathe best in water and the oils on our skin irritates their respiratory system. So avoid handling frogs if possible.
Learn more about how frogs breathe through their skin in this article on our blog.
13. All Toads Are Frogs, But Not All Frogs Are Toads
Toads are a subclassification of frogs, which means that all toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads. Frogs and toads are both part of the Anura family, but toads generally have warts, shorter legs, and live on land.
So the next time you encounter a toad, remember that all toads are frogs. Learn more about the difference between toads and frogs in this article on our blog.
14. Toads And Frogs Do Not Give Warts
You might be thinking that touching a toad or a frog can get you warts, but this is far from the truth.
As a general rule, toads will not give you warts which is a viral infection that frogs and toads do not carry. Frogs may be poisonous, carry salmonella and other diseases, so it is important to wash your hands, wear gloves, or avoid handling them.
15. Pink, Purple and Rainbow Frogs Do Not Exist
You may have seen some really cool colorful frogs images on social media or in search engines like Google. Here is a reality check.
Purple Frogs, Rainbow Frogs, Pseudodendrobate Americanus, Lipstick False Dart Frogs, or Pink Dart Frogs do not exist. The image in search engines and on social media of a Pink, Purple and Rainbow Frogs are edited versions of other frog photos.
Do not believe everything you see. Find out what colors frogs can be in this article on our blog.
16. Toads Can Kill Your Pets
Generally Toads can be detrimental to pets if ingested or licked intentionally or during play. Toads secrete poison behind their eyes that can make cats or dogs very sick.
Most frogs (outside the Amazon Forest) are harmless to humans but are dangerous to common household pets. Toads are especially problematic since they can commonly be found in people’s backyards. If you see a frog or a toad, keep your car or dog away. If they ingest one, be sure to contact a veterinarian quickly.
Learn how to get rid of frogs in your yard in this article on our blog.
17. It Has Already Rained Frogs
It has rained frogs a few times in North America and here are some examples:
- 1921 Calgary Canada
- 1873 Kansas City, USA
- 1882 Dubuque, Iowa, USA
Each time it was explained by frogs getting swept up by a tornado. These frogs then flew into the Earth’s atmosphere, where they froze and then fell back down to the surface.
18. You Can Eat Frog Legs
Humans can eat Bullfrog, the Javan Giant Frog, and the Anatolian Water Frog. There are other types of frogs that you can eat safely, but these are the frogs that are most commonly eaten around the world.
Frog legs are a delicacy in a variety of places around the world including parts of the South of the USA, South Africa, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, France, parts of Portugal and Eastern Europe.
Learn more about the types of frogs you can eat in this article on our blog.
19. Some Frogs Have Pain Killing Properties
Frog’s skin has a lot of different chemicals and depending on the type of frog, some can be harmful to humans while others can be helpful. Some frogs have enough poison on their skins to kill up to 10 people and others have chemicals that have 200 times the power of regular morphine.
As you can see, some frogs can do humans a lot of harm, but others can offer a lot to science. Frogs with the ability to produce chemicals that mimic painkillers are important for advancements in fields like pharmacology.
Learn more about the properties of frog skin in this article on our blog.
20. Some Frogs Are Invasive
Cane Toads (Bufo Marinus) are an invasive species in Florida and in Australia where they are not native, but were introduced in 1935 by humans to control the beetle population that was eating cane plants. However, they did not eat the correct species, proliferated and are now invasive.
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There are now an estimated 200 million Cane Toads in Australia that have travelled over 2000 km. Cane Toads can lay up to 30,000 eggs twice per year, are poisonous to native Australian wildlife, and have adapted incredibly well to their environment. Cane Toads are proliferating at incredibly fast rates and killing native species to Australia.
Measey GJ, Vimercati G, de Villiers FA, Mokhatla MM, Davies SJ, Edwards S, Altwegg R. 2015. Frog eat frog: exploring variables influencing anurophagy. PeerJ 3:e1204 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1204
Painkiller From Frog’s Poison, by Science News StaffJan. 2, 1998