Fun Edible Frog Facts For Kids

Oluwatosin Michael
Jan 06, 2023 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta
Edible frog facts like they are a fertile hybrid are interesting.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 10.1 Min

The Edible Frog or Rana esculenta is a frog commonly found in Europe that is used for food, mainly in France for its delicacy legs. Also known as the green frog or common water frog, the males of this species are between 6-11 cm long while the females are 5-9 cm long.

The Edible Frog is a hybrid of the Marsh Frog (Pelophylax ridibundus) and the Pool Frog (Pelophylax lessonae) and this is why its scientific name has 'kl.' added to it which stands for klepton or synklepton. The common ancestor’s population of both these species were split into two back in the ice age. Even though the populations diverged, the species remained genetically close and were able to create fertile hybrids. However, it is important to note that when edible frogs mate, most of the time, their offspring are malformed. That is why edible frogs don’t have pure populations. The female edible frogs propagate the hybrid population by mating with males of a parental species.

As the name suggests, Edible Frogs are used as a food source by people all over the continent. However, they are most popular in France where the legs of the frog are served as a national dish. There is no reason why humans favor edible frogs over others, but it might have something to do with their number. Even though they are one of the most common European frogs, they are under threat as their natural range is tampered with. Also, because their skin is permeable, water pollution is a concern. They migrate from areas with declined water quality. There are several other types of edible frog food species. But, please note that the Chinese Edible Frog, which is one of the Cambodian Edible Frog species, has an entirely different family.

If you enjoy these facts, you may also like to check the fact files on tree frogs and horned frogs from Kidadl.

Edible Frog Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an edible frog?

Also known as the Green Frog or the Water Frog, the Edible Frog species was bred when its parental species were isolated near each other during the ice ages. Its scientific name is Pelophylax which means both 'guardian' and 'mud'. These frogs don’t stray far from water. The name was described for the first time in 1758. Its name as the edible frog comes from the fact that in France, they are a culinary delicacy, especially their legs.

What class of animal does an edible frog belong to?

The Edible Frog, Pelophylax kl. esculentus, belongs to the Amphibians class. They are a species of frog that lives in Europe. Amphibians means two lives. Frogs are amphibians because they start their lives as eggs in the water and then tadpoles. Once they are fully developed, they start to live on land.

How many edible frogs are there in the world?

The number of Pelophylax kl. esculentus in the world is unknown. They are thought to be common and many in number.

Where does an edible frog live?

The Edible Frogs are mainly found in central Europe. Some of them also live as far north as Estonia and Germany. The Southern population of Edible Frog is from Croatia, into the South of France through Northern Italy. Also, there are some isolated populations in Bulgaria and Sweden which have migrated from nearby countries. Edible Frogs spend most of their time in the water or close to it and can be found in the calmer areas of streams and rivers that have a constant but slow flow of freshwater. It is believed that they prefer open areas and can be spotted around lakes, marshes, and ponds.

What is an edible frog's habitat?

Edible Frogs are amphibians which means that they can survive in water and on land. In the water, they prefer areas of rivers or streams that have slow flow and in the land, they prefer marshes. Marshes are wetlands that are continually or frequently inundated with water. They are also characterized by soft-stemmed vegetation that is adapted to its saturated soil conditions. From Everglades to the prairie potholes, inland to coastal, saltwater to freshwater, there is a wide range of marshes where Edible Frogs live.

Who do edible frogs live with?

Edible Frogs are known to be social creatures who live in groups. Groups of young frogs often swim together like fish in schools. A group of frogs is known as a colony, a knot, or an army.

How long does an edible frog live?

An edible frog is not a real species. It is a natural hybrid between Pelophylax ridibunda and Pelophylax lessonae that can live up to 12 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season begins in March and lasts for the next few months. Male edible frogs use their vocal sacs for singing. They let the air in and out through the sacs that results in the production of sound. They try pitching the highest possible sound as female edible frogs are drawn to the male edible frog that has the loudest voice. Then, the male and the female edible frogs mate in a swamp, lake, or pond. Then, the male frog allows the female to lay down about 10,000 eggs in sticky mass into water.

Tadpoles that come out from the egg are very small. They are grey or brown in color and are only 0.5 cm in length. These tadpoles reach a length of about 7 cm before metamorphosing. By the time they leave the water, they are around 2 cm long. Edible frogs are ready to mate by the age of two. They live up to 15 years.

What is their conservation status?

Currently, the edible frog, Pelophylax kl. Esculentus, is listed as Least Concern from extinction species for the near future. However, the population has been declining in certain areas. Edible Frogs are adaptable animals and so far, they have managed to inhabit man-made water bodies. However, in order for this to happen, the quality of the water should be good and there should be enough food supply without a lot of competition from other species.  

Edible Frog Fun Facts

What do edible frogs look like?

The Edible frog, Pelophylax esculentus, is a medium-sized European frog that doesn’t grow more than 9 cm. in length. However, compared to male edible frogs, the female edible frog is larger and can grow up to 12 cm in size. Also, adult frogs are of green color and have brown patches on their back. From the underside, they are white-colored but have dark spots in some areas. The color of their eyes is yellow.

There are certain differences between the male edible frog and the female edible frog such as during mating, the male frog becomes greener and lighter. Male edible frogs also have vocal sacs on the outer side of their cheeks. Also, the male edible frogs have extra watches of skin on their feet which comes into use during mating.

Edible Frog

How cute are they?

These frogs are not that cute as they look a bit bumpy and slimy. But if you are someone who finds frogs cute, there is also a chance that you will take a liking to these Edible Frogs.

How do they communicate?

The edible frog species has a unique call or croak. They create the sound as the air passes into their throat through the larynx. For most calling, the sound is amplified using the vocal sacs, skin membranes present on the corner of the mouth or under the throat. These vocal sacs distend during the call’s amplification. In fact, some calls of the Common Water Frog are so loud that females from miles away will be able to hear them. Additionally, some frogs even use man-made structures like drain pipes to amplify their call artificially.

How big is an edible frog?

An edible frog is somewhere between 1.9-4.7 in (5-11 cm) long.

How fast can an edible frog swim?

An edible frog is capable of swimming at a speed of 5 mph.

How much does an edible frog weigh?

The weight of an edible frog is between the range of 0.011-0.026 lb (5-12 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no gender-specific names for this species of frog.

What would you call a baby edible frog?

A baby edible frog is called a Tadpole.

What do they eat?

Edible frogs are from the Animalia kingdom that can survive only if they consume other animals. Even though tadpoles generally eat vegetation, they have to supplement their diet occasionally with aquatic microorganisms. The food or diet of an edible frog will generally include small invertebrates like insects, moths, flies, and spiders. These small invertebrates are most of their diet, but edible frogs also consume aquatic animals such as fish, newts, and frogs. In fact, they can even eat small birds. They mostly hunt during the day and can catch their food on both ponds as well as on lands. They prefer living near the water but can go about 500 m away from the water body to get nutritional food.

Are they poisonous?

These species of frogs are not thought to be poisonous as they are known as Edible Frogs and are eaten by humans.

Would they make a good pet?

There is not much information available about these frogs as pets, however, it might be difficult to recreate the natural habitat of these amphibians since they prefer wet and marshy areas.

Did you know...

That edible frog is among the handful of animals in the world created as a fertile mix from two entirely different species. In most cases, when identical species that are genetically different mate, it is extremely rare for their offspring to be able to breed. In fact, the kl. in the scientific name of the edible prog is an indication that the species has chromosomes that were stolen from other species.

Its scientific name also includes ‘Esculentus’, which means edible in Latin. They are the most eaten frog species in the whole world which has made edible frog farming quite popular as well.

As it is evident by its name, Edible Frog is used as food in the European continent. However, this pool frog or marsh frog is most popular in France where its legs are served as a delicacy. However, no one knows the exact reason why edible frogs are favored over other frogs as food, but it might be because of their abundance.

Even though they are among the most common frog species in Europe, they are under threat because of their natural range being tampered with. Because their skin is permeable, edible frogs are highly vulnerable to water pollution and often relocate from areas with declined water quality.

There is a book called 'The Ranidae: How to Breed, Feed and Raise the Edible Frog' by Meadow Brook Farm.

What does the scientific name of the edible frog mean?

Edible Frogs are one of the most common frog species found in Europe. Also known as the Water frog or Green frog, this is a fertile hybrid created from two different European Frogs, the Marsh Frog and the Pool Frog. These species came into being when both populations were closely isolated during the ice ages. Its scientific name is Pelophylax kl. Esculentus. The word ‘Pelophylax’ can mean mud or guardian. They don’t stray far from water acting as a guardian of the muddy banks. The ‘kl.’ from the scientific name of the frog indicates that the edible frogs have chromosomes taken from other species which showcases their hybrid nature. The last word in its scientific name ‘Esculentus’ is a Latin word that means edible. The edible frog farm work on increasing the population and providing a supply for the popular delicacy in France.

How does the edible frog differ from many other species of frogs?

Unlike several other frog species, the Edible Frogs are diurnal which means that they are most active during the daytime. This is also the time when they are most likely to stray far away from the water in order to move to a different area of the water or to find a better food supply. Also, edible frogs are relatively solitary species so that there is little to no competition for food. However, males can often be found sitting in groups during the mating season as they are trying to compete against each other for a mate. They spend most of the time simply sitting motionless on the banks where they are camouflaged perfectly because of their skin color. During the cold months of winter, they move to land for hibernating.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other amphibians including the Surinam toad, or poison dart frog.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Edible frog coloring pages.

Edible Frog Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Insects, moths, spiders

What Type of Animal were they?

Omnivore

Average Litter Size?

10,000

How Much Did They Weigh?

0.011-0.026 lb (5-12 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

water bodies and wetlands

Where Do They Live?

europe

How Long Were They?

1.9-4.7 in (5-11 cm)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Amphibia

Genus

Pelophylax

Family

Ranidae

Scientific Name

Pelophylax kl. esculentus

What Do They Look Like?

Brown, black, tan, or green-colored

Skin Type

Permeable

What Are Their Main Threats?

foxes, cats, birds

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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