What do frogs eat? And more frog facts

Close-up of frog's face peeping up from a pond
There's more to frogs than meets the eye... (Photo: northeastwildlife.co.uk)

Now it’s spring, frogs are hopping out of hibernation and heading for ponds to breed. Here, we answer your frequently asked froggy questions.

What do frogs and tadpoles eat?

Tiny tadpoles love to munch on algae (Photo: Margaret Barton/WTML)

Frogs are carnivores, which means they eat other creatures. Small frogs eat insects, such as flies and moths, as well as snails, slugs and worms. They catch their prey with their long, sticky tongues.

Tiny tadpoles eat algae, the green scum you get in ponds. As they get bigger, they start to nibble on plants, or even catch small insects. And if there's not enough food, they sometimes eat each other!

How do frogs breathe?

Frogs breathe through their skin! It’s very thin so it allows oxygen to pass through when the frog is under water. They can also breathe through the lining of their mouth. They do have lungs but they only use them when they need to top up their oxygen levels.

Tadpoles breathe through gills, like fish, but they lose their gills as they grow into frogs.

How long can a frog stay under water?

It can be anything from a few minutes to several months. It depends on how active they are. A frog that’s moving around a lot needs more oxygen and may not be able to get enough through its skin while under water, so it will need to come up for air.

But when it’s less active – for example, when it’s hibernating – it may be able to stay buried in the mud at the bottom of a pond for the whole winter.

How do frogs protect themselves?

Lots of birds and small animals eat frogs so they use camouflage to protect themselves. That means they are the same colour as their surroundings – usually greenish, grey or brown. They’re not bright green like the frogs you see in story books!

Is it ok to take frogspawn home and watch it develop?

Watch clumps of frogspawn develop into frogs (Photo: Margaret Barton/WTML)

We don’t recommend it. It’s always best to leave creatures where they are, and moving it from one pond to another can spread disease. Instead, find a pond with frogspawn and visit regularly to watch it develop in its natural habitat.

Or you could build a frog pond in your garden and see who moves in.

Want to find out all about how gloopy frogspawn turns into tadpoles and then frogs? Then check out our frog life cycle iDial.

Can you tell a frog from a toad? Do you know your newts? Become an expert with our amphibian ID sheet.

Have you spotted any frogspawn or tadpoles? Tell us about it on our Facebook page, or on Instagram or Twitter using #NatureDetectives.

Have you spotted any frogs?

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