Fact Zap

Science Behind How Frogs Jump

Frogs jump using their strong thigh muscles. They have springy tendons to help them jump at weird angles. Leg muscles in frogs can fold and unfold. When fully stretched, frog legs are longer than the rest of the body.

Frog digital image

Have you seen a frog jump ? Frogs can jump an average of 5 times their body length. Few types of tree frogs can jump 50 times their body length.

Body structure of frogs

Frogs have strong thigh muscles. Thigh muscles make up 20% of the total body weight. Frogs have foldable bones and joints in their legs. When a frog is not moving, its folded legs are hardly noticeable. During jumping, they unfold and become straight giving them extra long legs. Longer the legs, longer is the distance jumped.

Tendons for jumping

Tendons are flexible chords (strings) attaching muscles with bones. We move our hand and legs because of our tendons. In frogs, tendons are not only flexible but also stretchable. They stretch and recoil during take off and landing. They act like springs, launching the frog into action.

Jumping frog illustration by Fact-Zap
Frogs unfold their legs while jumping, making the body long.

Birds vs Frogs

Birds also jump, to start a flight. Take off force needed by a bird is similar to the force needed by a frog. Birds have aerodynamic body structures designed for flying. Before landing, direction and height are changed to land smoothly on their legs. Frogs cannot do this. Their land hard after every jump.
Landing force of frogs is 3 times their take off force. Frogs land on their fore legs, which absorb the high landing forces. Impact of this force on other parts of the frog's body and how frogs deal with it are still under research. Future studies may reveal surprising science secrets hidden in frog jumps.

Origami Frogs

Origami is the art of folding paper. Origami gives step by step instructions to fold a square sheet of paper. It is a fun way to make paper replicas of real life objects.
Making paper origami frogs is a great way to learn the physics behind how frogs jump. Click here for tutorial to make your own jumping origami frog.

Future ..?

Tree frogs have evolved to jump longer than other frogs. Their legs have special features like toes and toe pads to jump long distances. In future, frogs may evolve to jump longer and faster.
Can you imagine a futuristic frog with adaptations to jump longer and faster ? How will frogs of the future look ? Let your imagination run wild ..!.