6 Fascinating Facts About Frogs

With over 6000 species throughout the world, frogs are the most plentiful type of amphibians on our planet. Frogs are cold-blooded animals with peculiar characteristics of both fish and reptiles, such as having gilled, aquatic larvae and air-breathing adults.

Many of us love to listen to the boisterous sound of a frog pond near dusk, but there’s more to frogs than simple evening entertainment. Read on to find out some neat facts about these intriguing amphibians.

1. The largest frog in history weighed about 10 pounds (4.5 kg).

In 2008, scientists pieced together fossilized remains of a giant frog that lived on the island of Madagascar about 65 to 70 million years ago. They named it the “devil frog” based on its size and likely feeding habits. The beach-ball-sized amphibian would have been able to catch and eat ancient lizards, small animals and maybe even baby dinosaurs.

Today, the goliath frog is the largest frog on earth. It is native to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea in western Africa and can grow to be longer than a foot (30 centimeters) and weigh more than 7 pounds (3.2 kilograms).

Golden Poison Dart Frog (Photo credit: Brian Gratwicke, via Wikimedia Commons)

2. One gram of the toxin produced by the golden poison dart frog could kill 100,000 people.

The brightly-colored poison dart frogs of Central and South America are among the most poisonous animals on earth. And the two-inch-long golden poison dart frog is the most lethal. The poison from one frog is enough to kill ten adult humans, or two elephants. Simply touching this frog is deadly, as its poison is held in glands immediately under the skin. The Embera people of Columbia have used the frog’s poison for centuries on the tips of blowgun darts, which is how the frog got its name.

Scientists believe the frogs acquire their poison through their insect prey, such as ants, termites and beetles, which carry toxins from the plants the insects feed on. Poison dart frogs raised in captivity away from their native diet of insects never develop poison.

3. Frogs have teeth.

Although, frogs don’t use their teeth to chew. They typically only have teeth on their upper jaw, which hold prey in place until they swallow it whole. Also, frogs regularly lose their teeth and grow new ones.

The horned frogs of South America are known for having particularly sharp upper and lower teeth, combined with a nasty disposition. They’re vicious hunters that will hide in water or leaf litter until anything close to their size wanders by to grab. They are also aggressively territorial and will attack humans or other large animals that enter their space. Some Amazon tribespeople wear high, leather boots to protect against horned frog attacks.

Green Horned Frog
Green Horned Frog

4. Some frogs are dedicated parents.

Most frogs will lay their eggs in a body of water and leave them to develop on their own. The tadpoles that hatch about a week later will have to take care of themselves as they grow and develop into adult frogs.

But in areas where water is less plentiful, competition between tadpoles becomes a concern for their survival. In challenging situations like this, some frog parents have developed amazing ways to lend a hand. For example, the strawberry poison dart frog lays her eggs on the forest floor, where the male guards them and brings water to keep them moist. When the tadpoles hatch, the mother takes the tadpoles on her back to various water-holding flowers or leaf axils and deposits one tadpole in each location. She visits them regularly and brings them food until they grow into adults.

5. Frogs breathe through their nose and skin.

Most frogs have lungs and can breathe air in through their noses the same as humans. But, frogs can also take oxygen in through their skin when they’re completely submerged under water. Their skin is very thin and contains a large network of blood vessels that can take oxygen directly out of water.

Interestingly, researchers recently discovered a frog that has no lungs at all. Named Barbourula kalimantanensis, the frog lives in cold-water streams on the island of Borneo in Indonesia. It gets all the oxygen it requires through its skin. Researchers suggest the frog developed this way so it could sink rather than float. Lungs would make them more buoyant and they might get swept away in the fast-moving water.

Wood frog metamorph

6. Frogs are a valuable indicator species that can give scientists insights into the health of an ecosystem.

Frogs’ thin skin makes them especially sensitive to environmental changes, such as temperature fluctuations, pollution or habitat loss. If frog populations start to decline, it’s a red flag to show that something is wrong in an ecosystem.

And, currently, frogs are signaling that something is seriously wrong throughout the globe. Worldwide, the majority of frog and other amphibian species are declining at a disturbing rate. Scientists believe this massive die-off is due to a combination of global issues, including climate change, habitat destruction, pollution, disease and human exploitation of various amphibians for pets and food.

Many international organizations are working to turn this trend around through measures such as captive breeding programs, habitat rehabilitation and pesticide bans. You can also take steps to support these amazing creatures. Check out these tips on how you can help save frog populations. You can also watch the video below to find out how to attract frogs and toads to your garden.

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Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

thanks for posting

Past Member
Past Member 8 months ago

People should respect the beautiful amphibians -- they do serve a purpose other than
food. Just think of the insects the frogs eat, or the musical sounds from a marsh.

S J10 months ago

Thank you

Sheila M
Sheila Miller10 months ago

I absolutely love when I have a frog or toad in my yard. I enjoyed reading the information on frogs. Many of the facts I did not know. Have always enjoyed them!

Renata B
Renata B10 months ago

Beautiful, beautiful, funny frogs.

Allan V
Allan Vaught10 months ago

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Allan V
Allan Vaught10 months ago

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Julia S
Julia S10 months ago

Thank you!

Richard A
Richard A10 months ago

Thank you for this article.