Cute Frog Facts You Need in Your Life
Frogs are an incredibly popular pet — and an incredibly diverse species. With over 7,400 species of frogs in the world, there’s a frog for every occasion.
But what do frogs eat? Are frogs friendly? Can you keep a wild frog as a pet?
Let’s take a deeper look into the mysterious and amphibious world of the frog.
Frogs Can Live in Many Environments
Imagine, if you will, that for some reason you needed to avoid a frog. You might think to go to the desert. Frogs need water, right?
But then, parched and furious, you'd look down and find this little guy.
It shouldn't be surprising. Frogs are some of the most adaptable creatures on the planet and can live in a variety of environments, from deserts to rainforests. You may do best going to the arctic.
Frogs Are Some of the Best Jumpers in the World
Some frog species can jump 20 times their body length, making them some of the best jumpers in the animal kingdom.
Jumping helps them catch their prey. While some frogs use their tongue, other frogs will leap onto prey mouth first.
It may not be a strictly elegant solution, but it's a very effective one.
Frogs Can Survive in Some Unusual Places
Some frogs can even survive being frozen. The wood frog (Rana sylvatica) of North America can live through the winter being frozen solid. When the temperatures warm up in the spring, the frog thaws out and goes about its business as usual.
Wouldn't that be nice?
But even weirder, there are some stories about frogs being found encased in rock. Some of these stories are a little more believable than others. But it may be that they get around a little more than we think they do.
Frogs Can Hear and See Underwater
Many frog species have special adaptations that allow them to see and hear underwater. Frogs that live in ponds or rivers will often have protruding eyes that help them see better in murky water, whereas tree frogs do not.
But that doesn't mean that they can breathe underwater. Even aquatic frogs need to surface to breathe.
Frogs Have Been Around for Over 200 Million Years
Fossils of frogs have been found that date back over 200 million years, making them one of the oldest groups of amphibians. There are even some frogs that have been found fossilized in amber.
Maybe we can bring some dinosaurs back and use those to bring back the frogs.
Frogs Make Great Pets
Like a lot of reptiles and amphibians, frogs make great pets. As long as you get the environment just right, most of them don't require a lot of active care.
That being said, you shouldn't keep a wild frog as a pet. They often have very specific needs. And they could be endangered.
Frogs Are an Important Part of the Food Chain
Frogs are an important part of the food chain and play a vital role in many ecosystems. They are often eaten by predators such as snakes, birds, and fish, and in turn eat a variety of insects and other small animals.
So, in reality, frogs are sort of a conversion chart that turns an insect into a bird. Sort of.
But on a more profound (and less crazy) note, the fact that they play such a critical environmental role is a problem because they are increasingly endangered.
Some Frog Species Are Endangered and Need to Be Conserved
Frog populations around the world are declining at an alarming rate. More than 40 percent of all frog species are considered to be at risk of extinction, and many more are in danger of becoming extinct.
Frogs are uniquely sensitive to environmental change. They absorb chemicals directly through their skin, so they are impacted by both air and water pollution. In many ways, the health of the frog population can be used to track the health of the overall environment.
Frogs Can Change the Color of Their Skin
Frogs are one of the few animals that can change the color of their skin. They do this for a variety of reasons, including camouflage, communication, and temperature regulation.
If you look very closely, you can see how they do it. Most frogs have very dark, very small patches of skin that grow or shrink in size.
A Frog's Tongue Is Attached to the Front of Its Mouth
Most frogs have long, sticky tongues that they use to catch insects and other small prey.
The tongue is attached to the front of the frog's mouth and can be extended out and retracted at will.
When extended out, the frog's tongue can be twice or even three times the length of its body.
Most Frogs Have Fairly Good Eyesight and Can See in Color
There's a myth that frogs can't see very well because they often won't react to movement around them. But that's because they just don't want to be bothered. Staying still is a great defense against predators.
Frogs actually have great vision, including excellent night vision, which helps them to hunt for food at night.
Frogs Have Skin That Is Permeable to Water and Air
Frogs have skin that is permeable to both water and air. This means that they can absorb oxygen and water through their skin.
This is one of the reasons why frogs need to live near water: so they can keep their skin moist.
In Fact, Frogs Don't Drink Water. They Soak It In
If you keep a frog as a pet, you have to put a bowl of water out. But don't expect your frog to drink it. Frogs don't drink water at all. They soak it in through their skin. The bowl is really less a bowl and more a tiny little tub.
This isn't that unusual. Sit in a bath of tea, and you'll absorb some caffeine through your skin. But frogs raise it to another level. They can't consume liquids any other way.
Frogs Are Very Successful Predators
Frogs eat snails, flies, moths, slugs — anything that they can fit in their mouths. In captivity, frogs are usually fed a diet of fortified crickets and mealworms.
Frogs only have one weakness. Their vision actually is movement-based. If an insect isn’t moving, a frog can’t catch it.
This also means that you can't feed frogs dead prey. Live crickets it is.
Male Frogs Make Unique Mating Calls to Attract Females
During mating season, male frogs will often call out to attract females. The calls are usually unique to each species of frog and can be quite loud. Female frogs will usually only respond to the calls of their own species.
In most languages, this is described as "ribbit, ribbit" even though the real sound is more like "BAKAKAKAKAKAKAK AKAKAKAKAK AKKAAKKKKA AKAKAKAKKA KAKAKAK AKAKAK!"
Frogs Only Lay Their Eggs in Water
When it's time to lay their eggs, frogs will usually head to a body of water and lay them in clusters. The eggs will hatch into tadpoles, which will then undergo metamorphosis into adult frogs.
If you're keeping pet frogs and want them to breed, you need to simulate rain. Simulating rain gives them the "all's clear" signal. It indicates that there's enough water nearby to lay eggs.
It's as ingenious as it is inconvenient.
Some Species of Frogs Don't Ever Leave the Water
While most frogs will spend the majority of their time on land, there are some species that never leave the water. These frogs have webbed feet and often live in or near ponds, rivers and swamps.
You can buy these aquatic frogs as pets for your freshwater aquarium. But with a lifespan of up to 10 years, they're going to be quite the commitment.
Tadpoles Are Herbivores That Eat Algae
When they're first hatched, tadpoles are herbivores and will eat any algae or other material that they can find in the water. As they grow older, they will gradually start to eat other things, including small animals.
Some tadpoles even develop into cannibals and will eat other tadpoles. Never forget: Nature is terrifying.
Some Frogs Are Incredibly Small
Frogs can be one of the smallest animals in the world. In fact, the world's smallest frog is about half the size of a dime.
Most frogs that you encounter will be an inch to two inches long, but they can also get quite big. The goliath frog can get over a foot in length.
Frogs Can Be Poisonous
Some frogs secrete poisonous substances from their skin that can be harmful to humans and other animals. These toxins usually don't bother the frogs themselves, as they have developed immunity to them. It would be tragic and hilarious if they poisoned themselves.
If you handle a frog that is poisonous, it's important to wash your hands afterward to avoid coming into contact with the toxin. This is important to note because some people keep poisonous frogs as pets.
Some Frogs Can Live Over Three Decades
The green tree frog, for example, can live up to 30 years in the wild. Most pet frogs will only live a year to five years, but it's highly dependent on the species.
Make sure to check it out if you're looking for longevity. Or if you need to know whether you have to pass your pet frog down in your will.
Frogs Are Sometimes Used in Medical Research
Frogs have often been used in medical research, as they share many similarities with humans. For example, their skin is very similar to human skin, so they're often used in studies involving skin disorders.
Some even believe that frog toxins can be used for health purposes. Which is more or less what the frogs are using them for, in a roundabout way.
Frogs Have Been Used in Traditional Medicine, Too
Frogs have also been used in traditional medicine for centuries. In China, for example, frogs are often used in soups and teas that are said to have medicinal properties.
But before you start boiling up a frog, know that there's no actual evidence that any of this works. In fact, it may contribute to the decline of native (and endangered) frog populations.
Kermit the Frog Is Likely the Most Famous Frog
But Kermit wasn’t always a frog. Kermit started his life as a terrifying amalgam of an old, stuffed turtle and a ping-pong ball cut in half for eyes.
At the time, he was just some miscellaneous lizard. The shape of his head was based less on what the character was "supposed" to be and more based on the fact that "it could be manipulated with one hand."
Frogs Can (Sometimes) Regenerate Lost Limbs
But don’t go testing this one out. Frogs can regrow limbs when injected with certain chemicals. It's believed this is because they have a common ancestor with a lot of animals that can regrow limbs, such as salamanders.
This implies that frogs could once regrow their limbs but cannot anymore because they've lost the ability to produce these chemicals. Who knows, maybe we, too, will be able to inject some chemicals and regrow some lost limbs.
Frogs Blink When They Swallow
Frogs blink when they swallow because they swallow with their eyes. Their eyes essentially connect to the very top of their mouth. When their eyes descend into their mouth, it pushes their food back.
They need to do this because (as we mentioned before), their tongue is positioned at the front of their mouth rather than the back.
Nature is a miracle. A creepy, weird miracle.
Would You Eat a Frog?
Frogs are a surprisingly popular food item. They are eaten throughout Europe and Asia, with Indonesia and China being major exporters of "food frogs."
Though they are most commonly associated with French cuisine, they are popular throughout the world. Many liken the taste to a sort of mild chicken.
Frogs can be harvested very quickly, but that is to an environmental detriment. Whole populations of frogs can be wiped out for dinner.
Bonus: What's the Difference Between Frogs and Toads?
Frogs and toads are both amphibians, but there are a few key differences between them. For one, frogs tend to live near water, while toads prefer dryer environments. Frogs also have longer legs and narrower waists than toads.
Additionally, toads can secrete toxins from their skin as a defense mechanism, while most frogs cannot. Finally, toads typically have dry, warty skin, while frogs have moist, smooth skin.
Alright, that may not seem like a lot of difference. There are frogs that live in dry environments and there are toads that live in wet environments. And there are even poisonous frogs and bumpy frogs.
But no one said taxonomy was a science.
Can't Get Enough of Amphibians? Why Not Try A Little Lotl.
If you think frogs are cute, you'll adore axolotls. Find out more about the trendy pet that the internet can't stop talking about.