Green tree frogs can swim and are mostly found near water-based habitats, but they are not the best at it. If you are keeping a green tree frog as a pet, you should take care not to put it into a deep water container with very steep walls.
Green tree frogs are usually found in cool and damp places, near sources of water. But, as the name also suggests, they are typical “tree” frogs. That makes one wonder if green tree frogs can swim? What is their favorite habitat? Would a green tree frog be able to survive if thrown into deep water? We’ll discuss all that and more in this article.
Can frogs swim, generally?
Frogs are amphibians, which means they live half of their life in water and half on land. When they are young (tadpoles) they live and feed in the water, where they breathe through gills. But once they are grown, they move out of the water to live on land and breathe through lungs.
However, even adult frogs do need to be around water all the time because they need to keep their skin wet. They also need water when they have to breed.
As they mature, they lose their gills but develop the ability to breathe through their skin, and this skin breathing can happen in both air and water. Frogskin is adapted to this because it is extremely thin and lined with blood vessels very close to the surface, so that oxygen simply dissolves into the skin from the surrounding air or water, and diffuses into the bloodstream.
So yes, all frogs can swim, and most of them are quite excellent swimmers. While they are in the water, they absorb oxygen through their skin, while holding their breath so that their lungs do not take in water.
Like us humans, they’d drown if their lungs were to fill up with water, but unlike us, they don’t have to rely on lungs as their only way of breathing. Since they also breathe through their skin, they can stay in water for very long durations, between 4 to 7 hours straight, according to some sources!
How do frogs swim?
Frogs have long and powerful hind legs with webbed feet, that help them swim. They also have a very flat, smooth, and streamlined body to assist in swimming.
As they swim, they pull their hind legs in and upwards towards their body, like a human doing a breaststroke. Other than these leg thrusts to push off, they also rely a lot on rowing, which means rotating their ankles like paddles to push against the water.
Can frogs drown?
Unfortunately, yes. Although they can swim and breathe underwater, they can indeed drown. This can happen if the frog stays in the water for too long and can’t get out; it won’t be able to hold its breath forever.
This also depends on the water quality and how much oxygen is present in the water. If the oxygen content is low, the frog will not be able to absorb enough through its skin to survive.
Can green tree frogs swim?
What’s different about green tree frogs compared to regular frogs? Green tree frogs are arboreal, meaning they live on trees and like to climb; this helps them escape their predators. They don’t normally like swimming around in the water for too long other than to get their skin a bit hydrated.
Can green tree frogs swim?
Yes, they can. But, they aren’t the best swimmers amongst frogs. Some green tree frog owners warn that tree frogs do not have webbed feet like other frogs, which means they can’t swim as well.
You should still give them a shallow container with water to keep hydrated, but make sure it is not too deep and does not have very high walls. (This is just a precaution but, otherwise, green tree frogs have sticky pads on their feet and even their belly skin is clingy, which enables them to climb smooth surfaces).
Nevertheless, it is better that you should provide some climbing aid like rocks and sticks so they can easily climb into and out of the water.
This is just for comfort.
Bottom line: It is unlikely for any type of healthy adult frog to drown if pushed into the water – it would start swimming – but it is still possible if it is made to stay in there for too long. Some green tree frog owners do report rare incidents of drowning.
Where do green tree frogs live?
So what’s the natural habitat of these frogs?
They like cool, dark, and damp places. They are typically found in forests, wetlands, heath, and very commonly in suburban areas too.
In suburban areas, they are often found around houses in drainage pipes, water tanks, and even near toilet bowls!
You would have noticed that all these are wet environments so, like any frog species, they do need to be around water.
Do green tree frogs breed in the water?
Yes, although adult green tree frogs like living on trees, they need water to breed.
The female lays eggs in whatever source of water she can find; ponds, swamps, puddles, and even human pools. They can even breed in water troughs and buckets if they are filled with water.
The eggs appear as a mixture of white foam and clear jelly, floating in the water. This white foam is made by the female as she lays the eggs to hide the eggs from coming into sight of predators, and also to shield them from the sun. The jelly coated bubbles stick together, and the jelly has a very bad taste, to deter predators from eating the spawn.
Like regular frogs, after they hatch, the tadpoles live and feed in the water, until they metamorphose into fully-grown frogs when they can finally step out of the water and start living their life on the trees nearby.