Goal 15: Life on Land
why frogs are fantastic
11 amazing facts about these ancient amphibians
By hannah rochell
16 march 2021
Estimated to have lived on Earth for over 200 million years (so they would have been hopping around with dinosaurs), the 6,000 known species of frog come in all shapes and sizes, from the West African goliath frog which is as big as a newborn baby, to the tiny Cuban tree toad at just half an inch long. Here are 11 more reasons why these little green guys and gals are so amazing…
Some frogs are deadly
The Columbian golden poison dart frog could kill a whopping 100,000 people with just one one gram of the toxin it produces. Thankfully, they only use it for self defence. Their toxin is an important part of life for indigenous cultures, who tip their darts with it to hunt for food (hence the name).
Frogs have lungs…
Frogs were the first land mammals to develop vocal chords. The males’ huge balloon-like vocal sacs can produce a sound that can be heard up to a mile away.
...But also some frogs don’t
The Bornean flat-headed frog was discovered in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until 2008 that scientists realised that it has no lungs. Instead, it breathes through its skin. Sadly for the frog, illegal gold mining and deforestation are causing pollution in the streams it lives in.
Frogs are Kermitted to fashion
Unlike Kermit The Frog, who is naked aside from a yellow collar, the strawberry poison frog has a red body and blue legs, making it look a bit like it’s partial to a denim and colourful hoodie combo. Unsurprisingly, it’s also known as the blue jeans frog.
They like to feel fresh
Frogs completely shed their skin about once a week. Then they usually eat it.
It’s a shame frogs can’t enter the Olympics because they would do pretty well in the long jump, with some being able to jump more than 20 times their body length.
Frogs share childcare roles
After its tadpoles hatch, the male Darwin’s frog swallows them and keeps them safe in his vocal sac until they are fully-formed froglets. At which point, he coughs them all up. Other curious broody frog stories include the Australian gastric brooding frog (she keeps them in her stomach until they hop out of her mouth) and the Suriname toad of South America, whose eggs are embedded on her back until the tiny frogs, like something from a sci-fi movie, burst out headfirst.
In Costa Rica, the flying tree frog uses its webbed feet to glide effortlessly through the canopy.
The wood frog lives in the Arctic Circle and can survive for weeks with parts of its body completely frozen solid. It uses a kind of frog antifreeze (which is actually a glucose in its blood) to prevent its vital organs from getting damaged until it defrosts.
Frogs are, like, SO transparent
There’s no need for an Xray to see what’s happening inside a glass frog. Its translucent skin means you can see straight through it to its internal organs; you can even watch it digesting its food!
Toads are actually frogs
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