Can Frogs Climb Walls?

If you live in a country where frogs are common and you’ve ever found one in your home, you might be baffled by how it got there, especially if it does not appear to have come through a doorway. This might lead you to wonder “can frogs climb walls,” perhaps with some amazement, because these quirky amphibians don’t look like they should be good climbers. Most of us know frogs for their amazing ability to hop and for their fascinating transformation from tadpole to frog, but few of us think of them as mountaineers.

Of course, there are many different species of frogs, and each will be specifically adapted to the environment that it prefers and the kind of food that it hunts. Frogs tend to have different strengths and weaknesses, although most share their major characteristics, including the long tongue, croaking, and webbed feet. When we think of frogs, few people think of them scaling vertical surfaces, and you might be wondering if they just hop over obstacles, or whether they actually climb up them.

It doesn’t seem like being able to climb would be a major advantage in the life of the average frog; they spend most of their time at ground level, hiding under logs and hunting for food in the undergrowth. Despite this, you’ve probably seen them clinging to walls or even trees (especially if you live somewhere tropical) and looking completely at home with their environment.

Can Frogs Climb Walls?

Frogs can climb walls, and many of them do so for a whole host of reasons, including looking for a cool spot to hide, searching for a vantage point to hunt from, or to escape from predators. Some frogs are better climbers than others and are far more capable of scaling smooth, slippery surfaces, while some frogs will only manage to scramble up damp, rough surfaces that they can get a good grip on. However, pretty much all frogs can climb to some degree.

If you live in a warm country, you might see frogs inside your home from time to time, often clinging in an unobtrusive corner, pressed against the paint, and this is usually because they are seeking somewhere cool, away from the sun. Sunlight is dangerous for amphibians and will dry a frog out quickly, so it’s no surprise that they sometimes seek shelter inside a house, where the sun never strikes. Some frogs, like tree frogs, can even stick to the wall and will stay there, while others will use a wall to scramble to a horizontal spot that feels comfortable to them.

Although most frogs can climb, few will choose to cling to a vertical surface for long, as this expends a lot of energy and does not serve any particular purpose. However, people often find tree frogs clinging to the wall for hours, and even see them on the second story of their homes.

How Can Frogs Climb Walls?

Most frogs climb by choosing rough, damp surfaces to travel up, and clinging to these with their webbed feet while they head upward. These frogs will not be able to cling to a smooth surface well (if at all) and will avoid climbing walls such as house walls, although they may scale up garden walls at times. The majority of frogs will only climb a surface that is rough and easy for them to cling to.

However, some frogs, such as tree frogs, employ other tactics. The tree frog has amazing feet that allow it to stick to smooth surfaces; they have epidermal toe pads, and the contact surfaces of these pads have hexagon plates separated by small channels. Because the feet are also coated in a thin slime, these channels and plates create a vacuum, adhering the frog’s foot firmly to the surface. The frog can then release itself by curving its foot and allowing air into the vacuum.

Other frogs also often use a sticky secretion to improve their grip on walls, but they predominantly depend on the grip of their webbed toes for climbing. Unlike the tree frog, they will have to put more effort into actively clinging on, whereas the tree frog can simply “hold on” through the vacuum effect, without expending any energy. This is why tree frogs will happily remain on walls for hours, while other frogs seek horizontal surfaces to avoid wasting energy.

How Do I Stop Frogs Climbing On My Walls?

It is not easy to stop frogs from climbing if they want to do so, but if you are not concerned about the frogs’ well-being, you might be able to try spreading irritants on the walls. However, be aware that this may or may not prove effective, and could be harmful to the frog, which has delicate, porous skin.

Another option is to try spreading salt or coffee grounds around the bottom of the wall; frogs do not like the feeling of salt, which dries out their skin, and coffee grounds also feel unpleasant to them. They may avoid this area because of the irritants, but you will need to keep reapplying them, and a determined frog may simply hop over the layer.

Another option is to try spraying your walls with a diluted bleach spray, which frogs will not like the smell or the feel of. However, be aware that this may also damage your wallpaper/paint, so test it on a small, inconspicuous area first. Bleach spray may be harmful to other animals, and is not good for the environment, but if you really need to keep frogs away, this is an option.

Conclusion

A quick answer to “can frogs climb walls?” is yes, most frogs can, but some can do so with far more skill and ease than others. Tree frogs can happily hang from a wall for hours without expending any energy, while most other frogs will simply climb up the wall and move onto a horizontal surface again as soon as possible. Most frogs are great climbers and can easily scale rough, vertical surfaces.