Meet Newport Aquarium’s Frogs during National Frog Month

NEWPORT, KY— In honor of National Frog Month, let’s meet some of our smallest and most colorful amphibians at Newport Aquarium—the frogs in Frog Bog!

There are 16 species of frogs on exhibit right now—see if you can find them all during your next visit! (Hint: one elusive species can only be discovered by your kids when they explore the Climber play area!)

But first…

Frogs vs. Toads

All toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads.

It’s easy to get these confused! Frogs and toads are closely related amphibians, but there are some differences! For example:

  • Frogs have large legs and webbed back feet. Toads have short legs and no webbed feet.
  • Frogs jump and swim. Toads walk along the ground.
  • Frogs have smooth, moist skin and love being in moist environments. Toads are often warty!
  • Frogs lay their eggs in clusters, while toads lay eggs in a long clear strand.

Now, let us introduce you to the residents in Frog Bog!

African Clawed Frog

African clawed frog

Your kids can discover these frogs when they crawl through the Climber in Frog Bog.

Albino African Clawed Frogs are from South Africa. They came to the U.S. in the global pet trade, spreading a deadly fungus called chytrid to amphibians around the world.

African Clawed Frogs are named for the tiny claws on their back feet that they use to push themselves along the bottom of ponds and slow-moving rivers.

Amazon Milk Frog

Amazon Milk Frogs are native to the rainforests of Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Surinam, and Guiana.

They are incredible acrobats, and can grab onto a branch with a single toe!

American Bullfrog

American Bullfrog

Our American Bullfrogs love to snack on nightcrawlers! Our frogs will only eat insects that are alive and moving, just like in the wild.

You may have spotted these North American frogs locally! They’re found in freshwater across the United States.

Unlike most frog species, you can tell an American Bullfrog’s gender by its ears—if the ear is the same size as their eye, then it’s a female, but if the ear is bigger, it’s a male! (For most frogs, you have to look at the size of their toes—males may have larger thumbs or pads. Also, only male frogs call, so listen up to tell the gender!)

Anthony’s Poison Arrow Frog

Anthony's Poison 1

Try to find the Anthony’s Poison Arrow Frog tadpoles in Frog Bog right now! It takes about 10 weeks for these baby frogs to grow from tadpole to froglet.

Anthony’s Poison Arrow Frogs are found in subtropical forests in Ecuador and Peru.

Their skin secretions are studied by scientists for use as powerful pain killers! Other types of dart frogs have secretions that are used in medical research, too, as heart and neurological medications.

Brown Mantella

Brown Mantella

There are 220 species of frogs native only to Madagascar, including 16 species of Mantella. We have two species of Mantella here at Newport Aquarium.

Brown Mantellas live in the forests and savannas of western Madagascar.

The males guard their eggs as the tadpoles develop.

 Blue Poison Dart Frog

Blue Poison Dart 3

Poison dart frogs are only poisonous in the wild, because of the ants and other insects they eat. Here at the aquarium, they’re fed non-poisonous bugs!

Blue Poison Dart Frogs come from Suriname, and tend to live in the leaf litter on the forest floor.

As tadpoles, Blue Poison Dart Frogs will eat their own siblings! To avoid this, their parents have to find a different water source for each hatchling.

Bumblebee Poison Dart Frog

Bumblebee 3

Male Bumblebee Poison Dart Frogs protect their eggs by carrying them to water sources on their backs

Bumblebee Poison Dart Frogs live in moist tropical areas in Central and South America.

They hibernate during the dry season in the wild. Other species “semi-migrate” to find oases and rivers to wait out dry seasons.

Colorado River Toad

IMG_9404Colorado River toads are known for their toxin. Ingest enough, and it can cause nausea or death. But, a small lick, and it causes psychoactive hallucinations. This toad is the only frog or toad not in Frog Bog. It’s in the Dangerous & Deadly gallery with the Gila Monster.

Colorado River toads are the largest species of toad native to North America. They are found in the Sonoran Desert (arid to semi arid grasslands). They are primarily active during summer rainy season and hide from the hot sun during the day. They even burrow down into the soil to find moisture and protection from the sun.

Fire-Belly Toad

Fire Belly Toad 2

Fire-Belly Toads are named for their red bellies, which they flash to warn predators of their poison.

Fire-Belly Toads are native to the coniferous forests of China, Korea, and southeastern Russia.

Unlike their poison dart frog cousins, Fire-Belly Toads do not secrete poison from their skin. They carry poison in sacs behind their eyes.

Gray Tree Frog

Tree Frog

The Gray Tree Frog is rather shy, and its coloring helps it to camouflage with its surroundings—see if you can spot one in Frog Bog!


Gray Tree Frogs can be found locally—even in your backyard!

They can be found in moist, wooded areas, and their coloring changes to blend in with tree bark.

Green/Black Poison Dart Frog

Green Black Dart 5

Like all poison dart frogs, Green/Black Poison Dart Frogs are brightly colored to warn enemies of the poison that they secrete.


The Green/Black Poison Dart Frog hails from the tropical rainforests of Central and South America.

Newly hatched Green/Black Poison Dart Frog tadpoles ride on their dad’s back to the nearest pond for them to grow up in.

Green Mantella

Green Mantella 3

Though a little shy, see if you can spot these tiny Green Mantellas peeking up at you in their Frog Bog home.

Green Mantellas live in the extreme north of Madagascar, usually in dry lowland forest near streambeds.

Mantellas are the poison frogs of Madagascar

Red-Eyed Tree Frog

Red-Eyed Tree Frogs live in tropical rainforests in Central and South America.

They have blue arms and legs, red eyes, and stripes on their sides to warn predators.

Red Eye Tree Frogs have a special eyelid that has a lattice pattern on it. This hides their bright red eye but still allows them to look out for danger.

Tiger Leg Monkey Frog

Tiger Leg Monkey Frog

Tiger Leg Monkey Frogs are nocturnal, so they may be sleeping when you visit them!

Tiger Leg Monkey Frogs are found in tropical habitats in northern South America.

They can change color based on their emotions and surroundings—so you may see a green or a brown frog on exhibit depending on their moods!

Solomon Island Leaf Frog

Solomon Island Leaf frog

The Solomon Island Leaf Frogs share a habitat with a Solomon Island Skink here at the aquarium—just like in the wild.


Solomon Island Leaf Frogs are from the rainforests of the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

Unlike most frogs, they do not have a tadpole stage! When their eggs hatch, they emerge as fully developed small frogs!

And last but not least…

Splash-Backed Poison Dart Frog

Splash Backed Poison 5 (2)

Say hello to the Splash-Backed Poison Dart Frog in Frog Bog! You can often see them using the suction pads on their toes to climb up the glass!


These bright red frogs are found in the rainforests of Brazil.

They are very social frogs, unlike most poison dart frogs, and prefer to live in small groups. You’ll probably see a group of them together!

Jump In and Help Us Protect Frogs!

How can you help protect frog and other amphibians?

  • Keep your neighborhood and local waterways clean from pollution.
  • Make your backyard a frog friendly space, with local plant species, ground cover like rocks and logs, leaf litter, and a pond.
  • Participate in activities such as Frog Watch: https://www.aza.org/become-a-frogwatch-volunteer/

Hop over to Frog Bog on your next visit to Newport Aquarium to learn more about ways you can help protect frogs and amphibians during National Frog Month and year-round!

Leap Day 2016, Celebrating and Saving the Frogs

By Megan Gregory, Newport Aquarium Public Relations Aide

While Leap Day’s true purpose is to keep the year aligned with the seasons, animal lovers across the globe are using it to celebrate the world’s best leapers, FROGS!

We can find our leaping friends around the world on every continent except Antarctica. The Romans believed frogs brought good luck into their homes while the native Aborigines of Australia thought frogs brought rain, which would help their plants grow. Now a days, they can be found close to water areas like ponds, lakes, swamps, and marshes.

Frogs are a member of the amphibian family. Amphi means both while bio means life which refers to frogs living both in water and on land. The frog’s life cycle starts as an egg which is hatched into larvae (or “tadpoles”), as the larvae grows it develops its back legs, then its front legs, and finally emerge from the water. This process could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 years!

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Bumblebee Poison Dart Frog

Frogs are important to the earth for several reasons. First, they are an indicator species. This means we can look at frogs in a specific area and determine how well it’s doing. If the frogs are thriving then nothing needs to be changed, but if they are struggling with survival then something is wrong with the ecosystem and immediate action is required.

Second, frogs are both predator and prey. They serve as food for many animals such as birds, snakes, and large fish. But, frogs help control the population of insects, eating a variety of spiders, mosquitos, flies, and sometimes mice. Frogs are known for using their long sticky tongues to catch their food. Their tongues are about a third of the size of their body. If humans had the same tongue, it would reach all the way to our belly buttons!

And lastly, frogs are very beneficial to human medicine. Since ancient times, frog skin has been used to help regrow skin. It was also believed that the oil secreted from frogs contain a pain reliever and help strengthen the immune system. More recently, it was discovered that compounds from their skin could be the key to treating cancer and HIV.

There are currently over 4,900 species of frogs and toads worldwide. However, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) states that nearly 1/3 of the world’s amphibian species are threatened with extinction. Major threats include:

  • habitat loss
  • global warming
  • Chytridiomycosis- a fungal disease that affects about 30% of the amphibian species.

How can you help?

Leap into action by becoming a FrogWatch USA volunteer with the WAVE Foundation at Newport. Aquarium. FrogWatch USA is a citizen science program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), is always looking for passionate individuals to help collect data on local frogs and toads.

FrogWatch USA trains volunteers to identify local species, listen for their calls and teach them how to report their findings.

Leap day only comes once every four years, come spend your extra day leaping in Newport Aquarium’s Frog Bog, which is sponsored by CET and Think TV. You can see over 15 species of amphibians, play giant Frogger, and discover the sounds of frogs and toads from all over the world.

(Newport Aquarium Frog Bog Video: https://youtu.be/dLWuEFqmMRs)

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There are more than 20 Green and Black Poison Dart Frogs in Frog Bog, along with nearly 20 species of exotic frogs from around the world.