Frog Lifespan: How Long Do Frogs Live?

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Who doesn't like frogs? Beloved the world over for their adorable sounds and jumping abilities, frogs may live longer than you think. How long do frogs live? That's what we discussed and discovered here!

We'll review what the life cycle of a frog looks like, and the average lifespan of a frog. We'll then look at the frog lifespan of different species of frog so you can see which type of frog lives the longest. let's start!

how long do frogs live
Beloved the world over for their adorable sounds and jumping abilities, frogs may live longer than you think.

©Dave Denby Photography/Shutterstock.com

How long can a frog live?

Frogs live an average of 2-10 years in the wild. This number varies wildly depending on the species and whether the frog is kept in captivity. For example, a domesticated tree frog can live up to 20 years, while toads are known to live twice as long!

Frogs and toads are similar animals in many ways. It is widely believed that all toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads. Toads tend to grow larger, have rougher skin, and can be poisonous – the main difference from frogs.

Many toads seem to live longer than frogs, depending on species, size and environment. While both frogs and toads are amphibians, toads can live farther from water and only live in water to reproduce. Frogs like to be kept moist all the time.

Average life cycle of a frog

How long do frogs live?
Frogs live an average of 2-10 years in the wild. This number varies wildly depending on the species and whether the frog is kept in captivity.

©Eugene Troskie/Shutterstock.com

Frogs have to go through many different changes before they become adults. Both frogs and toads have similar life cycles – let's talk about that now.

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Egg

Like many other amphibians and reptiles, frogs start their life cycle with eggs. Frogs and toads must lay their eggs in water, and will often find calmer and protected places to lay their eggs. The eggs come in groups called spawning, at which point a male frog fertilizes them.

Many frogs leave their eggs unattended, putting them at risk of predation and elemental damage. However, some frogs do choose to babysit their young. Most frogs live as eggs for about 2-4 weeks, depending on the species. Then, a tadpole is formed.

tadpole

Tadpoles are an awkward growth stage for frogs. They hatch and immediately eat their eggs, which provide them with the nutrients they need to swim and continue to survive. Tadpoles differ from adult frogs in that they only have gills, a tail, and front legs.

Tadpoles feed on algae and other plants during their short life cycle, while swimming and developing muscles on their own. They begin to grow a body that looks more like a frog, reaching their final form when their tails begin to retract.

adult

How long do frogs live?
Many frogs leave their eggs unattended, putting them at risk of predation and elemental damage.

©iStock.com/edb3_16

Frogs reach adulthood at around three months of age. Their legs would resemble the intricate jumping legs we know and love, with warty skin growing over their gills. They are now able to live on land as well as in water.

However, frogs do not reach sexual maturity until they are at least a year old, depending on the sex and species of the frog. This means there is a period of time between when they reach adulthood and are fertile.

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Frogs in captivity live much longer than their wild counterparts, no doubt due to the sheer number of predators the frogs face on a daily basis. When these threats are removed from the frogs' environment, they can live longer.

Adequate food and a comfortable environment can also affect a frog's lifespan. They need an adequate food intake as well as a humid and temperate climate to thrive. This is easy to reproduce in a home aquarium, but wild frogs may struggle more than pet frogs.

Lifespan of different species of frogs

How long do frogs live?
Frogs in captivity live much longer than their wild counterparts, no doubt due to the sheer number of predators the frogs face on a daily basis.

© Milan Zygmont/Shutterstock.com

Want to learn more about the lifespans of different species of frogs? Here are some common types and their average lifespans:

  • Bullfrogs : 5-8 years in the wild, 16 years in captivity
  • Fire-bellied toad : 5-10 years in the wild, up to 20 years in captivity
  • Common toad : average 10 years in the wild, up to 40 years in captivity
  • Red-eyed tree frog : 5 years in the wild, 20 years in captivity
  • Dwarf frog : 6-8 years in the wild, 20 years in captivity
  • Gray tree frog : 5-7 years in the wild, 15-20 years in captivity
  • Poison dart frog : 10 years in the wild, 20 years in captivity

There are many different reasons why certain species of frogs live longer than others beyond captivity. One of the reasons some frogs live so long is their ability to poison predators. Many frogs and toads are venomous and have brightly colored skin to protect them.

Common frog predators know to avoid these clever but dangerous amphibians, since a single bite can kill most mammals. In fact, if a person comes into contact with a poison dart frog, the venom on their skin is enough to kill multiple adult adults!

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Once you find adequate care for your species of interest, you can help your pet frog live a long and happy life. Be prepared to keep your new family member around for a while, as many frogs can live a decade or more.

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about the author

august croft


I am a non-binary freelance writer working full time in Oregon. A graduate of Southern Oregon University with a BA in Theater and a major in Creative Writing, I have an interest in a variety of subjects, especially the history of the Pacific Northwest. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping on the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my family's kitchen perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast-iron skillet.

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