frog jump

Thinking about how does a frog jump, could it be anything to do with  those powerful, strong and muscular back legs, even though a lot of the time they don't look very powerful? When we see a frog, usually it is in a sitting position, and the frog looks quite compact and kind of bunched up.  You would not really think it had very powerful legs that would be able to enable the frog to jump far at all.  But the moment the frog needs to move to get out of harm's way, or to go to another spot, those back legs come into play and then we see how they are able to jump so far.  Those legs do extend and we can see clearly the answer to the question, how does a frog jump.

CGi Tree Frog"CGi Tree Frog" by Act2-Um is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

When researches were trying to find out where frogs get the strength from to jump so far, it turned out that it was not really as much to do with the muscles in their legs and more to do with the tendons there instead. 

  • When the frog is getting ready to jump, it stretches out the tendons as much as possible in preparation for the jump
  • The muscles in the legs shorten at this point and the energy transfers from the muscles to the tendons
  • The frog then propels through the air as these tendons kick back, or snap back and throw the frog forward allowing it to jump very far.  
  • A frog's legs represent about a quarter of a frog's total body size and so obviously they have a lot of power in them, as do the muscles, but it turns out from the research that if the frogs did not have the tensile and supple tendons in their legs they would not be able to jump as they can.
  • However not all frogs can jump and so have not got this ability and if faced with danger have to use other methods to get from out of the way and this might just be by walking out of harm's way, which is probably not as effective, of just do simple little hops.

How does a frog jump?

Cool fact : Some frogs can jump almost 20 times their body length.

Frogs also have a hinge-like iliosacral joint in their pelvis which enables their legs to have this incredible mobility and it sort of opens up when the frog is jumping and allows the frog to straighten out completely when the frog is in the act of jumping.  That is when they are flying through the air in almost like a straight line.

So who holds the Record for the best frog jump? The best jumper of them all is the African Frog and it can jump a very impressive 14 feet through the air!  

Not all frogs can do this amazing jumping thing, and the Waxy tree frog is one of those that just has the ability to do little walk around a bit like a lizard does.


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