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What Do Frogs Need To Survive?

Although frogs are incredibly skillful survivors, they still have specific needs for ensuring their happiness and health over time. Their habitat’s surroundings and provisions play a crucial role in their wellbeing, and many animal lovers wonder what aspects frogs need most to live their lives to the fullest.

Frogs need sufficient and suitable food sources, clean water, and shelter to survive. They need access to adequate nourishment, hydration, as well as wet areas to reproduce and lay eggs. Frogs also need appropriate locations to sleep, hibernate or estivate to survive through harsh weather conditions.

While frogs can often find the necessary provisions in the wild, many factors contribute to whether or not they will be suitable. Join me as I discuss what frogs need to survive. And this information will certainly be useful if you are caring for a little pet frog or are curious about their lifestyles in the wild.

Frogs Need Food to Survive

Frogs begin their lives as fully aquatic and herbivorous tadpoles. However, they do not retain this diet for long as they need much more nourishment as they age. Tadpoles adopt omnivorous diets as they near the froglet phase in preparation for future carnivorous eating habits. 

Carnivorous Diets

Once frogs reach the adult stage, they are obligate carnivores, feeding on small invertebrates and even small mammals depending on the species and size. Common food sources frogs like to eat include spiders, worms, beetles, moths, mosquitoes, slugs, and much more.

Frogs may even consume smaller amphibian species or other amphibians’ eggs. Frogs generally need to eat live prey to be happy and healthy. They usually hunt for their food at night using various tactics such as hiding and waiting for their prey to come to them. 

Omnivorous Diets

Although most frogs are complete carnivores, a few omnivorous frog species exist worldwide. These species generally consume meat as a preference but have adapted to consume plant matter where necessary. However, this is rare among over 7,500 known frog species.

Frogs Need Clean Water to Survive

While frogs need to eat enough food to live, adequate water is undoubtedly the most important health factor. Frogs are incredibly vulnerable to dehydration as they have extremely sensitive and permeable skin. Clean, unpolluted, and freshwater spaces are essential for their lifestyles irrespective of the type of frog.

Some frog types are far more water-dependant than others, especially aquatic or semi-aquatic species. However, all frogs must have access to suitable water to remain healthy. Frogs can utilize many water sources, from permanent ponds and slow-moving streams to temporary vernal pools, atmospheric humidity, dew droplets, and even rain.

Drinking And Breathing

Although frogs do not drink with their mouths, consuming sufficient water is essential for internal bodily functions, skin health, hydration, breathing and much more. Frogs drink and breathe through cutaneous absorption, where water molecules are absorbed through the skin’s membraneous tissue. 

They are also equipped with special areas on their bellies and the undersides of their thighs, commonly referred to as ‘drinking patches’. Frogs press these areas down into moisture to absorb more water molecules where necessary, which is particularly common during dry or hot weather conditions. 


Frogs are ectothermic creatures, and they cannot regulate their body temperatures like endothermic animals. Frogs warm up or cool down based on their surroundings, and they need to expose their bodies to appropriate external temperatures to either raise or lower their body temperatures where needed. 

Soaking in cool waters, damp soil, or other moist areas greatly affects their body temperatures. Frogs often jump into ponds and streams to cool off in hot weather, making water bodies crucial for their happiness and comfort.

Breeding and Early Development

Frogs need access to water bodies during mating seasons, as most frog species practice aquatic reproduction methods. Most species use external fertilization through amplexus, where the female releases unfertilized eggs as the male releases sperm cells into the surrounding waters, after which the eggs become fertilized zygotes. 

After the eggs are fertilized, they remain in the water body for weeks until they become froglets. This makes water essential for frogs reproducing, frogspawn in their early metamorphic phases, and the overall continuation of countless frog species.


A crucial consideration of any water source is the salinity levels since frogs can typically only survive in freshwater. Freshwater helps hydration and oxygenation, whereas saltwater can cause dehydration and sickness (CTNF). Although some frogs have adapted to saltwater to varying degrees, saltwater is generally considered unsafe for frogs.

Frogs Need Adequate Shelter to Survive

Although frogs often roam within their habitat, they need access to safe spaces where necessary. Having access to such areas greatly increases the survival rates of frogs, whether they are fully mature or in their early developmental phases.

Sleeping and Hiding

Frogs sleep or rest when they need to regain energy. As a result, frogs need access to safe places to ensure their survival over time. Frogs that have no space to hide or sleep safely may not survive long as they can become easy targets for predators in the wild. Frogs sleep in a variety of different places and sometimes use camouflage to hide.

Hibernation and Estivation

Harsh weather conditions pose massive risks for frogs, and they need to establish safe areas during certain seasons. Depending on the location and climate, frogs generally hibernate throughout winter or estivate throughout hot seasons.

The location primarily depends on the frog species type:

Type of FrogHibernation LocationReason for Location
Aquatic FrogsUnderwater Aquatic frogs need direct water contact to survive.
Arboreal FrogsUnder leaf piles or logs, and at the base of treesTree frogs typically freeze themselves in winter and can shelter from the heat in hot seasons. 
Terrestrial FrogsUnderground in crevices and tunnels, or under rocksHiding in moist soil helps terrestrial frogs maintain stable temperatures.

Frogs that do not have access to such areas will likely die from harsh weather conditions, typically due to hyperthermia or hypothermia. Extreme heat can cause dehydration and sickness, while extreme colds cause death by freezing.

More About What Frogs Need to Survive

Although most frogs need these basic things in order to survive, some species have adapted to their environment. Certain frog species can survive in drier or colder conditions. Frog needs ultimately depend on their size and species. However, all frogs require access to adequate of food, shelter, and sufficient clean water in order to survive in the wild and in captivity.

Learn more about what frogs need to survive on our blog:

Daniella Master Herpetologist

Daniella is a Master Herpetologist and the founder of toadsnfrogs.com, a website dedicated to educating the general population on frogs by meeting them where they are in their online Google Search. Daniella is passionate about frogs and put her digital marketing skills and teaching experience to good use by creating these helpful resources to encourage better education, understanding, and care for frogs.