April is National Frog Month, dedicated to the loved (or loathed) amphibian. In honor of all things frog, we've rounded up a collection of adorable frog pictures paired with cool facts that might surprise you. Considered one of the oldest amphibians on the planet, frogs have inspired artists, writers, scientists, and dancers for years. Click through to learn more and celebrate the unique characteristics of frogs.
Frog vs. Toad
Not sure if you're looking at a toad or a frog? Actually, toads are frogs. Both belong to the Anurans group, which refers to their missing tails. Toads are basically frogs that spend more time on land, resulting in a dryer, bumpier skin.
Frog fossils have been dated back to the Permian time period, more than 265 million years ago. And fossils have been found all over the world — except Antarctica, due to harsh, cold conditions that aren't favorable for the life cycle of frogs.
Frogs are equipped with strong hind legs used for jumping and swimming, depending on the environment of the amphibian. Mark Twain published the short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" about a fictional hopper, Daniel Webster, who was trained by his gambler owner to win hopping contests. The Calaveras County Fair still holds an annual frog-jumping contest, which is one of the longest running events in the state of California.
Each frog species has its own unique call or croak, and some create ribbits so loud they can be heard up to a mile away. The sound is mainly used to attract a mate.
No matter how many times you kiss a frog, he'll never turn into a prince. Sadly, the original Brothers Grimm fable The Frog Prince didn't end with a romantic transformation resulting from a quick kiss, but instead with the amphibian being dashed to the ground by the selfish princess. More favorable frog prince stories have ensued over the years.
Whether you love or loathe frogs, there's no denying they are uniquely cute creatures. With bulging eyes and serenely smiling mugs, frogs can live up to 10 years in the wild, boast over 5,000 species, and have colorings that range from vivid red to the greenest green. Frogs are extremely sensitive to changes in the environment, which makes these happy hoppers an important biological indicator of the health of the Earth's amazing ecosystems.