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All About Frogs

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Many of us have seen these little green creatures hopping around, but what do we really know about frogs? Read this with your child, and help increase his general knowledge.

Did you know that frogs have been around for millions of years? They existed at the prehistoric era, and hopped around along with dinosaurs, crocodiles and other animals and reptiles that did not survived the mass extinction. What is alarming is that frogs, who have survived through so much, are now declining in numbers - thanks to the huge negative impact man has had on its environment. Read on and gain some fascinating insights of this incredible creature.

How many species of frogs are there?

Frogs are amphibians. There are around five thousand known species of frogs. However, scientists keep discovering new species all the time.

How long do frogs live?

Depending on the species and the environment, most frogs live between 4 to 15 years. However, frogs have been known to live for even 40 years.

Do frogs drink water?

No, frogs don't 'drink' water, at least not the way we do! Frogs absorb water through their skin. Some species of frogs have a special patch on their bellies, which absorbs water. Frogs also get extra oxygen from their skin! Now don't they have incredible skin? In fact, their skin is so incredible that frogs shed it, and then eat it!

How does a frog reproduce?

The male frog first climbs on top of the female frog, and clasps her around the waist. They stay like this for a few days, until he has helped the female frog to literally 'squeeze' out her eggs. The female frog then lays a bunch of eggs in water, after which the male fertilizes them. These eggs are all stuck together and the mass of eggs is called a spawn. Each egg is surrounded by a jelly-like substance, which makes it a slimy mass. Did you know that a frog can lay as many as thirty thousand eggs at a time? That's right, some species of frogs do indeed lay these may eggs, while other species lay only a 'few' eggs - around a thousand or so.

What happens after the eggs are laid?

The eggs hatch one to three weeks later, and tiny tadpoles come to life. These tadpoles first live within the water, and when their lungs form, the surface to breathe air. At first the tadpole doesn't need to eat, it derives its food from the egg itself, and then, from it's tail! That's right, the tadpole absorbs its tail, which is rich in nutrients, and when the tail is almost entirely absorbed and only a stub is left, the tadpole matures into a little frog or a froglet, and then, a frog. The entire growth process takes around 3 to 4 months. It may even take the entire winter season, in cold climates.

What is the difference between frogs and toads?

Toads are actually a branch of the frog species, with a few differences.
Frogs hop, and have long, hind legs to help them jump, while toads walk, and thus have smaller hind legs.
Frogs have webbed feet to help them swim.
Toads have warts on their bodies while a frog's body is generally smooth. We have already read that frogs lay eggs in bunches. Toads on the other hand lay eggs in chains. Frogs are generally found around water and they prefer moist climate, while toads prefer drier climates. Many frogs have teeth and long tongues, which they snap out to catch their prey like flies. Toads have short tongues, and no teeth.

However, there are many species of frogs that have characteristics common to both frogs and toads. The distinction is thus generally made only when the differences are fairly apparent.
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