How Long Can A Bullfrog Stay Underwater?

bullfrog on water

You might have heard the famous quote about bullfrogs where bullfrogs wouldn’t bump behind if they had wings. Instead of surprising you by flying, bullfrogs can make you wonder by staying underwater for a long time. Since an adult bullfrog loses its gills, you might be curious to know- how long a bullfrog can stay underwater.

Bullfrogs can stay underwater for around 4-7 hours. Bullfrogs stay underwater longer when there’s more oxygen in the water, the water is colder, and the frog is less active.

In this article, I discuss how long bullfrogs can stay underwater without oxygen. I also cover the factors that influence this duration.

Key Takeaways

  • Since bullfrogs are semi-aquatic, these frogs spend a large share of time underwater.
  • An adult bullfrogs develop lungs to breathe. But, these frogs use a cutaneous respiration system underwater.
  • Depending on several environmental factors, bullfrogs can stay up to 7 hours submerged underwater.
  • The dissolved oxygen content in the water determines the duration of staying underwater for bullfrogs.

How Can Bullfrogs Stay Underwater In Water?

Because of being amphibians, a huge number of frog species tend to share their lives on land and in water. Some frogs are fully aquatic and can spend their entire lives underwater. On the other hand, terrestrial frogs find it hard to stay underwater for a long time.

Before going into the conclusion, you need to figure out the type of bullfrogs.

The researchers and experts identify bullfrogs as semi-aquatic or shore frogs.

Although you can always find these bullfrogs in permanent water bodies, these frogs can move into terrestrial sites occasionally.

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In general, all frogs dwell in water in their larval and tadpole phase. The same condition is applied to the tadpoles of bullfrogs. In their tadpole phase, the bullfrogs breathe underwater through a gas exchange process by rhythmic pumping of gills.

Within one year, the tadpole bullfrogs grow into an adult bullfrog.

During the physical development, the gills of these bullfrogs disappear, and these massive frogs grow lungs.

The maturation of the lungs encourages pumping mechanisms to breathe for bullfrogs.

When the bullfrog tadpoles become froglets, these frogs can also leap into dry land from water areas. Bullfrogs breathe oxygen from the air with the help of their lungs in terrestrial areas.

However, these huge frogs apply a gas exchange respiration system through their skin while being submerged underwater. That’s why bullfrogs can readily stay for 4-7 hours submerged underwater.

How Long Can Bullfrogs Stay Underwater In Water?

In general, Bullfrogs can stay underwater for up to 7 hours.

Sometimes, these frogs swallow a large gulp of oxygen from the air whenever they come up to the surface. So, they can hold their breath for a long time with this trick.

Also, there is a slimy mucus coating present on the skin of bullfrogs. This slimy mucus helps bullfrogs breathe through their skin. As a result, bullfrogs can stay underwater as long as there’s sufficient dissolved oxygen in the water.

How Long Can Bullfrogs Stay Underwater Without Oxygen?

Since bullfrogs are semi-aquatic, these frogs develop lungs for their respiration. However, these lungs are specialized to absorb oxygen being submerged underwater.

Bullfrogs can hold their breath underwater for 4-7 hours. It can be possible due to their cutaneous respiration system.

If bullfrogs dwell in stagnant water areas, there will be shortages of oxygen. When bullfrogs run out of oxygen, these frogs will come up to the surface for oxygen. In a word, bullfrogs can stay underwater as long as they can enjoy the dissolved oxygen of the water.

See also  How Long Can Frogs Hold Their Breath?

5 Dependent Factors For Bullfrogs To Stay Underwater

Sometimes, you might notice bullfrogs being submerged for several hours. On the other hand, these frogs might take only a few minutes to stay underwater. So, the duration of staying underwater is dependent on several factors.

I’ve penned down 5 significant factors that determine how long bullfrogs can stay underwater. Let’s take a broader look at the following factors.

1. Dissolved Oxygen In Water

No frog can survive being submerged underwater without any oxygen. If dissolved oxygen is abundant in the water, bullfrogs can stay underwater for a long time by breathing through their skin. But, bullfrogs may struggle to stay underwater where the quantity of dissolved oxygen is poor.

That’s why bullfrogs can not stay underwater for a long period in stagnant water due to low oxygen content.

On the contrary, fast-moving water has smooth access to dissolving oxygen from the air through natural turbulence actions. I

n this way, the dissolved oxygen content has a direct effect on bullfrogs to stay underwater.

2. Presence Of Aquatic Plants

The duration of being submerged for bullfrogs is also dependent upon the presence of aquatic plants. You might know that plants produce oxygen as a by-product of their photosynthesis process.

So, the dissolved oxygen content remains higher in the daytime, where the water body contains aquatic plants.

But, the presence of aquatic plants will eventually decrease the rate of dissolved oxygen. After all, these aquatic plants will use the oxygen from water for aerobic respiration at night time. So, bullfrogs can not stay underwater longer where aquatic plants are abundant.

3. Quantity Of Dead Matters

If decaying materials are abundant in the water, bullfrogs will not be able to stay submerged underwater for a long time. The bacteria present in the water use dissolved oxygen from the water to decompose this dead matter.

As a result, the dissolved oxygen level will not remain up to the mark. It’ll discourage bullfrogs from staying underwater full of waste or decaying materials.

4. Temperature

Another environmental factor that triggers the duration of staying underwater for bullfrogs is the temperature level. Bullfrogs can stay underwater longer at low temperatures than at higher temperatures.

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You might know that frogs are ectothermic, which relies on the environmental temperature.

So, their metabolism rate goes up and down due to the temperature change. On the contrary, a higher metabolism rate refers to higher oxygen demand for bullfrogs.

As a result, bullfrogs require more oxygen on warmer days, which affects the duration of staying underwater.

In addition, the researchers found that more oxygen can dissolve into water at cooler temperatures than at warmer temperatures.

So, the dissolved oxygen level and oxygen demand of bullfrogs are dependent upon the temperature.

5. Activity Level Of Bullfrogs

Your body demands more oxygen when it is doing any exercise or jogging. The same thing happens when bullfrogs chase any prey or escape from predators. On the contrary, a bullfrog will require less oxygen in its inactive period.

So, an active bullfrog can not stay longer underwater than a bullfrog at rest. To fulfill their needs for oxygen, the bullfrogs may come up to the surface to breathe air.

How Long Can Bullfrogs Stay Underwater In Aquarium?

If you keep a bullfrog in an aquarium, you may enjoy seeing it submerged underwater. The duration of staying underwater for bullfrogs depends on the size of the tank, the depth of water level, and the dissolved oxygen content.

If the tank is small, the bullfrog may stay submerged for 20-30 minutes. After all, a small water area contains lower dissolved oxygen.

Before You Go

I hope you’ve got a clear overview of how long a bullfrog can stay underwater from this article. Like bullfrogs, several amphibians can stay underwater for a long time. Such a unique example is the salamander. If you are curious to know about their respiration system, let’s take a look at the following article.

Can Salamander Breathe Underwater?

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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