My neighbor has a lovely swimming pool. He’s specially installed a platform at water level, and this puzzled me.
The platform is small and surely not suitable for humans to use to enter or leave the pool, but my neighbor told me that this little seat was to help save the frogs from drowning. I was even more puzzled!
Could frogs drown? Surely they couldn’t drown, right?
After all, they swim and breathe underwater.
I was really interested in this strange idea, so I set off to the local reptile park to ask the experts about whether a frog could drown.
Their answers soon had me placing a small step in my fishpond too.
Can Frogs Drown?
Frogs can drown. While they are amphibians, frogs can’t breathe underwater indefinitely. Frogs are used to aquatic environments, but they also have lungs, and if these fill with water, the frog will drown. Frogs also breathe through their skin. If they are submerged in oxygen-poor water, frogs can drown.
I was so curious about frogs at this point that I ended up buying a terrarium and some pet bullfrogs to take home.
I had some strict instructions from the people at the reptile park to help me ensure my frogs didn’t drown or dehydrate.
How to Care for Your Pet Frog to Prevent Drowning
Keeping frogs is a great hobby, but one of the main causes of frogs dying can be a poorly maintained terrarium.
Your terrarium should most closely mimic a natural environment, and this means you need to stop it from becoming littered with dead plant material that can cause your frog to drown in the water.
Step One: Starting out Right
Your terrarium should have a large watery area since frogs are aquatic creatures. If you have a built-in fishbowl where the frogs can swim, be sure to start with non-chlorinated water.
This is an important requirement as chlorine and other chemicals in water can lead to your frog suffering from chemical burns to their skin and gills, which can lead to your frog drowning in water.
Step Two: Keep It Clean
Believe it or not, but frogs often breathe underwater. While they may seem quite happy to rise above the water level, this is not their ideal breathing design.
The catch with frogs and breathing underwater is that there needs to be enough oxygen in the water to breathe correctly.
If the oxygen levels drop in the water of your bowl or water container, then your frogs will slowly suffocate in that water.
Rotting plant material can lead to a drop in oxygen levels, so be sure to clean out the water regularly and replace it with fresh, chemical-free water.
This allows your frog to breathe through a gas exchange process between the frog’s skin and the environment.
Step Three: Provide Escape Paths
Frogs are great at jumping, but they can’t jump out of the water unless they have a support to help them.
So you should ensure there are escape paths with slanting stones, logs, or other climbing aids that can help your frogs get out of the water when they need to.
These escape paths also help your frogs avoid other frogs that are territorial and may attack them in the water. A kick from another frog can easily incapacitate a frog, leaving it vulnerable to drowning.
Step Four: Don’t Crowd Your Terrarium
Frogs can easily begin fighting in the water bowl of your terrarium, and this can lead to accidents and drowning.
With too many frogs in the water, the oxygen levels of the water can drop, and your frogs can slowly drown if they can’t get out of the water.
This is why a pet step in your pool is such a good idea as this helps frogs and other animals escape the water.
Frogs in the Wild
I began to wonder about frogs in the wild. How do they avoid drowning, and do they drown as easily as domesticated frogs do?
One of the easiest ways in which a frog can drown in the wild is when they fall into water that is not oxygenated and where they can’t get out, such as a swimming pool.
Frogs also hibernate in winter, so if their place of hibernation is flooded with oxygen-poor water, they will also drown.
A frog can literally hibernate at the bottom of a river as long as that river has oxygen-rich water. Should that river become polluted, the frogs would suffocate at the bottom of the river and drown.
Another drowning cause for frogs is when the pond they are in ices over. When the pond is isolated from the outside world by ice, the plants will quickly begin to rot, reducing the oxygen content of the water and leading to the frogs in the pond suffocating and drowning.
Frequently Asked Questions about Frogs Drowning
When do frogs use their lungs?
Frogs mostly breathe through their skin. Even when exposed to the air, they rely on their skin for breathing. Only when frogs need more oxygen do they use their lungs. If a frog is trapped underwater, it can’t breathe through their lungs, which means they need to use their skin.
How long can frogs stay underwater?
A frog that is submerged is essentially holding their breath as they need to breathe through their skin and not their lungs. They can sustain this for about 4-7 hours, depending on the species of frog and the quality of the water.
Can frogs drown in a swimming pool?
Frogs easily drown in a swimming pool. Even after the frog has been rescued from the pool, they may still end up dying. This is because the frog’s skin may become damaged by the pool chemicals, which can lead to the frog being unable to breathe through their skin.
The Final Breath
I am quite impressed with the step I installed in my pond, and my neighbor likes sharing how he’s seen many frogs jumping out of his pool due to his step.
It may seem like a small step, but helping frogs from drowning really makes my day.
Be sure to watch out for these handy creatures in your garden and around your pool too. After all, when mosquito season rolls around, frogs are your friends for sure, so help them breathe better in return.