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Rana, Hyla frog
What do frogs look like?
Even if there are around 2600 different frog species in the world, you can recognize frogs at first glance: They all have a rounded, stocky body, long, strong hind legs and short front legs. Usually they sit in the typical crouching position at the edge of a pond or on the leaf of a water plant.
Her broad frog mouth is toothless; they catch their prey with their long tongue. Your front feet have four and the hind feet each have five toes. Frogs, which live in water most of the time, also have webbed toes.
Our native frogs are mostly green or brownish in color.
One of the most beautiful native frogs is the tree frog, which is just five centimeters tall: it is bright green and has a black stripe on each side.
In the tropics, however, there are also brightly colored frogs: They can be red, turquoise blue or bright yellow and are often patterned with polka dots or stripes.
Where do frogs live?
There are frogs on all continents of the world, from the equator to the far north - and from the coast to the high mountains.
Frogs can be found in almost all habitats: in still lakes, roaring mountain streams, on trees, underground, in the rainforest, on the prairie and also in the mountains.
The development of the young frogs, i.e. the tadpoles, usually takes place in the water.
Frogs live almost exclusively in fresh water.
Only a very few go to weakly salty water to lay their eggs.
What types of frogs are there?
There are around 2600 different species of frog in the world.
The best known in our country are the tree frog, the common frog, the moor frog, the pond frog and the water frog.
How old do frogs get?
Depending on the species, frogs can live around three to 20 years. Our native common frogs, for example, live three to twelve years old, and tree frogs up to 25 years old.
How do frogs live?
Frogs are amphibians, which means they live on land and in water.
They are cold-blooded: their body temperature depends on the temperature of the environment.
If it is cold, they become slow and sluggish, if it is warm, they are alive and well.
Usually they only really wake up at dusk and at night. During the day they rest or sunbathe on the bank or in the shallow water.
If danger threatens, they disappear into the deeper water in a flash.
But not all frogs live in water. The best known to us, the tree frog, is a real climber: it skilfully does gymnastics in bushes and on trees.
His fingers and tips of his toes consist of disc-shaped adhesive pads with which he can hold onto branches and leaves like suction cups.
It only lives in water during the breeding season between April and June; then he climbs back into the trees.
In autumn our native frogs migrate to their winter quarters:
They sleep through the cold season underground and under dense piles of leaves - or they hibernate at the bottom of the water.
Friends and enemies of the frog
Some birds and snakes eat frogs.
Most animals do not eat frogs, however, because some species give off a secretion through their skin that stings and tastes disgusting. Some tropical frogs are even very poisonous.
Young frogs, on the other hand, are very much at risk: tadpoles are eaten by fish, ducks, newts, grass snakes and large insect larvae.
In order for at least a few tadpoles to survive and grow up, female frogs lay many thousands of eggs.
How do frogs reproduce?
After mating, the female lays the eggs - also called spawn - in the water:
The eggs are either laid in long spawning cords or spawning lumps and stick to aquatic plants through the sticky, protective gelatinous layer.
One to three weeks later, however, it is not a frog that hatches from the egg, but a tiny larva that attaches itself to aquatic plants.
Within a few days the mouth opening, eyes and tail develop: the tadpole is created.
It can swim freely in the water, has an oval body, a tail and feather-like appendages on its head: these are the gills with which it takes in oxygen from the water.
Tadpoles feed on algae and the remains of plants and animals.
When the tadpoles are more than two inches tall, their gills and tails get smaller and smaller.
By the age of about five weeks, they are three inches tall. All of a sudden, tiny hind legs can be seen that are getting bigger every day.
After about seven weeks, the tadpole will also have small front legs.
After just under eight weeks, the tail recedes and the plump shape of the tadpole takes on the shape of a tiny frog.
In addition, the frog has to switch from gill to lung breathing.
Once the legs are fully grown and the tail is gone, the gills recede.
The tadpole, which is over three centimeters long, has become a frog only one centimeter tall, which swims quickly to the surface of the water to take its first breath and go ashore.
How do frogs hunt?
Well camouflaged, the frogs sit in the water and on the bank and lie in wait for prey.
They only perceive animals that are moving. If an insect or worm wriggles around in front of their mouth, they fold out their long tongue and snap shut: the prey gets stuck on the sticky tongue and is swallowed.
How do frogs communicate?
Everyone knows how a frog croaks. The fact that such small animals can shout so loudly is due to their sound bladder: some frogs can be heard up to 500 meters away. Depending on the species, frogs have one or two sound bladders.
The tree frog croaks the loudest here. He has only one vocal sac, but he can inflate it so much that it is almost as big as the whole frog. He not only wants to delimit his territory, but also to attract females. As with all frogs, the male tree frogs are stimulated by the croaking of their rivals: even a frog concert from the tape leads to the males joining the singing soon.
What do frogs eat?
Frogs feed mainly on insects, larvae and worms. If you keep frogs in the terrarium, you have to feed them live animals.
Frogs - including local ones - can only be bought in pet shops, so you can be sure that they were bred and not caught in the wild.
Frogs need land and water to survive in a terrarium. Only some species, such as the clawed frogs, live exclusively in water.
Frogs take up a lot of space, so you should only keep two or three animals in a terrarium at most.
If you want to observe the development of the tadpoles, it is best to move the larvae into a smaller vessel.
But be careful: as soon as the tadpoles develop legs and start breathing, you have to move them to a terrarium in good time, where they can climb onto land from the water.
Care plan for frogs
If you keep tadpoles in an aquarium, you have to change the water every day and remove old food residues so that the animals do not get sick.
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