Leap Day for Frogs is a national awareness day to celebrate our amazing South African frog diversity and bring some much-needed attention to our furless frog friends!

Throughout history and cultures, amphibians have been viewed as both good and evil. Folktales reflect our observations and questions about the world around us and have been passed down generations to help us understand life’s mysteries, and often to protect us. By learning more about these stories, and understanding their roots, we can help conserve our frogs and their habitats. These creatures of popular folklore are teetering on the brink of extinction and unless we act to save them, South Africa too will start losing species.

Once upon a time, frogs were found far and wide,
they didn't have to flee,
and they didn't have to hide.
Tales told have placed them in danger,
making them seem much worse and much stranger.
Now they face dangers most grave,
and now we must act, for frogs we must save.

This year, we are taking a look at folklore, myths, and cultural beliefs about frogs and invite YOU to share your stories with us.

Frogs are not just long-limbed leapers. These water-loving amphibians are extremely important in our ecosystems by providing food to a wide array of other animals and consuming vast quantities of insects. They are also important bio-indicators due to their sensitive skins and bi-phasic lifestyles. In other words, if they are around, it means our environment is healthy. These barometers of life are now the most threatened group of species on Earth.

In an effort to bring awareness to these very important and beautiful yet under threat creatures, we are holding the 8th LEAP DAY FOR FROGS on  28 February 2022.

The aim of Leap Day for Frogs is to:

  • Raise awareness about the global amphibian crisis and the importance of freshwater habitats in sustaining biodiversity and human health.
  • Celebrate amphibian diversity.
  • Create a platform for citizen science.
  • Have fun in the name of frogs!

We invite you to join one of our organised events or for interested organisations and individuals to carry out their own activities that highlight amphibian conservation and generate increased awareness.

Post your events and questions on the Leap Day Facebook page

Fun ‘Leap’ facts

  • Frogs can leap, on average 30 times their body length! That means that if you were a frog you could jump the length of a rugby field. This is without a running start.
  • Did you know that a South African Cape River Frog, called Santjie, holds the world record for Frog Jumping – the longest distance covered in three consecutive jumps – at 10.3 m? Not bad for a 5 cm frog!
  • Some frogs fly! This is because these frogs have webbed toes and use these as a parachute to slow down their fall and sort of glide from one object to the next.
  • The secret to a frog’s jumping skill lies in its tendons. These stretch out while the leg muscles shorten at this point, transferring energy into the tendons. The frog then blasts off as the tendon recoils like a spring. This elastic structure is the key to the frog’s ability to jump long distances.
  • Can a frog jump out of water? Yes, a frog can jump out of the water. If you have a pond with vertical sides, it can be hard for frogs to get out of the water and you need to help them a little.Bullfrog reading illustration
  • How high can frogs jump? How high frogs can jump depends on the species. But, some people say frogs can jump at least 2 times their own height and the better jumpers (tree frogs for example) can jump up to 10 times their height. Frogs are much more known for the length of their jump.
  • Can frogs jump backwards? No, frogs cannot jump backwards. The only time that can happen is when they jump from an unstable surface and get flipped over. Otherwise, it just cannot be done.

Other fun frog facts

As of February 2022, there are 8,435 amphibian species of which 7,453 are frogs and toads, 767 are newts and salamanders, and 215 are caecilians. www.amphibiaweb.org

New species are discovered every year, and the most recently described species in South Africa include two new Rain Frog species, three new Mountain Toadlets, and several Dainty frogs.

South Africa’s smallest frog is the Northern Moss Frog, Arthroleptella subvoce, at 14 mm. It is known only from the Groot Winterhoek Mountains in the Western Cape.

Our largest frog is the Giant Bullfrog, Pyxicephalus adspersus, which gets up to 25 cm and 1.4 kg. They are found throughout central southern Africa, occurring predominantly in the Gauteng area in South Africa.

The biggest frog in the world is the Goliath Frog, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which gets up to 3kg!

The smallest is a species from Papua New Guinea, at only 7 mm (smaller than your pinky nail) and is also the smallest known vertebrate!

Amphibians are the oldest land vertebrates. Ichthyostega was an amphibian species that lived in Greenland 362 million years ago.

Who we are

The Threatened Amphibian Programme (TAP) was initiated in 2012 and aims to:

  1. Elevate the conservation importance of frogs and their freshwater and associated terrestrial habitats within southern Africa.
  2. Implement conservation actions that align with global amphibian conservation goals.
  3. Bridge the gap between research and on-the-ground conservation action by supporting and implementing relevant research projects.
  4. Drive social change to promote behaviours that support sustainable natural resource use to the benefit of amphibians and their habitats.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust, through its Threatened Amphibian Programme, is the only NGO operating in South Africa to include frogs as a conservation focus. Using threatened frog species as flagships for the conservation of important freshwater and terrestrial habitats, we implement species and habitat monitoring, initiate habitat protection strategies at important amphibian areas, improve management of important amphibian habitat, use research to support conservation action, and promote social change to galvanise behavioural change towards frogs and recognition of the importance of their habitats in South Africa…and beyond!

Contact us

Jeanne Tarrant on jeannet@ewt.org.za
Tel: 0832549563

Post your events and questions on the Leap Day Facebook page

Our Partners

Participating organisations

Supporting Partners

  • Amphibian Survival Alliance
  • Disney Conservation Fund
  • NEWF – Nature Environment & Wildlife Filmmakers
  • Penguin RandomHouse
  • Post Office South Africa
  • Rand Merchant Bank
  • Rainforest Trust
What is Leap Day for Frogs poster
poster on interesting frog stats from SANBI
poster on fun leap day facts from SANBI
2021 © Endangered Wildlife Trust with help from the Artifact Team