How Long Can Frogs Stay Underwater?


Frogs are little creatures that live in the water, though we have the terrestrial type that lives on land, called a toad. However, a few frogs are always found outside the water for a long period of time, and that has raised a question over the years that seems to not have a perfect answer. How long can frogs stay underwater? 

In this article, we will be providing answers to this question, from the duration of time they spend in water to how they survive staying underwater without being drowned and other relevant answers.

Let’s get started.

How Long Can Frogs Stay Underwater?

This depends on the species, water quality and temperature, age, environment, the water oxygen levels, skin, and respiratory abilities of the frogs, but generally, frogs can survive being underwater for 4 to 7 hours per day as long as they hold their breath or get drowned as a result of water entering into their lungs. 

They can do this as a result of their ability to breathe through their skins, as they will get drowned if they inhale water into their lungs.

How Do They Survive Staying Underwater?

 Frogs can survive staying underwater because they have multiple ways of breathing. Frog tadpoles can breathe through their gills, while adult frogs can breathe through cutaneous respiration.

Method 1: Through the Gills

Frogs develop into tadpoles 3 to 5 days after the frog eggs are laid, depending on the species, and have gills at the beginning of their existence. At this stage, they lack hands and feet but have fish-like gills that allow them to breathe through their skin underwater without having to come to the surface.

Tadpoles spend the first 12 weeks of their lives only living in water as they must mature past the tadpole stage before they can even jump out of the water.

Method 2: Cutaneous Breathing

After about 12 weeks to 16 weeks, tadpoles start transforming into juvenile frogs. 

At this point, they shed their gills and develop feet and legs, which enables them to live on land and away from water. 

However, they can still breathe underwater through cutaneous breathing, that is, by breathing in oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide through their delicate membranous skin tissue. Due to the vast number of blood vessels in their skin, this procedure enables oxygen to diffuse into the bloodstream.

The mucous covering the frog’s skin’s outer layer also aids in cutaneous respiration. The water itself or the wet soil at the bottom of water bodies are only two examples of the many underwater sources from which frogs can obtain oxygen through their skin.

The Species of Frog That Can Stay Underwater For Long

These species of frog practically live in the water and they are 

  • Western Dwarf Clawed Frog
  • Congo Dwarf Clawed Frog
  • Western Clawed Frog
  • African Clawed Frog
  • Green Stripped Frog
  • American Bullfrog

Few of these frogs hibernate in the water during winter.

  • Mink Frog
  • Bull Frogs
  • Green Frog
  • Leopard Frog

How Long Can a Frog Survive Without Oxygen?

No living thing can survive without oxygen for long and that includes frogs. However, they can live 5 to 7 days on a low oxygen level.

Do Frogs Need To Come Up For Air?

Yes, most species of frogs that possess lungs and can breathe with their skins come up for air especially when the oxygen level in the water is low.

This happens mostly in water filled with algae or a stagnant pool. However, few species that breathe through their skin alone do not need to come up for air.

How Long Can a Frog Survive Staying Out Of Water?

Frogs are creatures that love to stay underwater though most species of frogs can live without water for a few days before dying. However, Frogs like Green striped burrowing frogs can live up to three months in soil without water.

Why Will Your Frog Stay Out of Water?

Frogs are not known to always stay out of the water, it only comes up for air at  7 hours intervals but some are always seen outside on dry soil as a result of a few factors.

– Skin Texture

Frogs with thin soft skin absorb oxygen more than frogs with thick skin underwater and this makes the thick-skinned frog move out of the water to absorb more oxygen on land or in a shallow pool.

– Food and Mating

Frogs move out of the water when there is a short supply of food in their abode or when they lack a mating partner to search for a fresh source of food and a mating partner.

– Low Oxygen Level

Frogs stay mostly in stagnant pools but these pools supply a low amount of oxygen, thus, making frogs come out of the water immediately in search of a greener pasture.

– Hot Water Temperature

When frog metabolism increases, it needs more energy as frog metabolism works faster when a frog is inside warm water.

However, at that moment, the skin will not be able to absorb the right level of oxygen a frog needs, thus, the frog has to leave the water to be able to breathe through the lungs or rather search for a comfortable habitat.

How Do Frogs Find Water?

It is amazing how frogs find the right volume of water to stay in. Frogs are sensitive to moisture they possess blood vessels below their skin which enables them to absorb moisture through the air and this enables them to know the area with the right amount of water needed.

What Activity Does A Frog Perform Underwater?

Frogs majorly lay their eggs underwater as tadpoles cannot survive and develop outside water. Besides, frogs get their daily food from the water, under the water, and on the surface of the water.

Can Frogs Live in Saltwater?

No, the majority of frogs can only survive on freshwater, lakes, ponds, fens, and marshes free of salt as saltwater disrupts the water exchange and ionic balance of a frog skin membrane which results in dehydration and death eventually.

However, rainwater, pond water, and runoff water are dangerous for pet frogs as they may contain pathogenic organisms that might kill the frogs. The best water to use for pet frogs should be treated water such as filtered, boiled, bottled, and distilled water.

Can Frogs Drown?

Frogs are professional swimmers that know their way around the water community, however, there is a tendency that them to drown if their lungs get filled with water mistakenly.

They also get drowned if there is a low level of energy in the water

Do Frogs Drink Water?

No, frogs do not need to drink water to survive, they rather absorb it through their skin for breeding and development. They also eat carefully when underwater to avoid water entering their lungs.


From this article, I believe your question has been answered. Few species of frogs including the common ones can spend their whole life staying underwater if under the right conditions such as the right oxygen level.

Written by Justin Michaels

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