All amphibians start life as an egg in a ball of jelly. The eggs are laid in water. The egg hatches and the young amphibian breaks out of the jelly. We call the young of a frog or toad a tadpole. The young amphibian has gills to breathe underwater and a tail with a fin so it can swim. When it gets bigger it starts to grow legs. When it is full grown it changes quickly to its adult body shape. It loses its gills and grows lungs to breathe air. It loses its tail fin and its legs grow much larger. Then it leaves the water to live on land. It looks like an adult now, only much smaller.

It takes a couple of years for an amphibian to grow to its adult size. In spring the adult will return to the pond, lake or stream where it was born to look for a mate. Then the females lay eggs to start the cycle over again.


How long can amphibians live for? Most frogs and toads can live for more than 5 years. Some salamanders can live for more than 10 years.


Click on one of the links to learn more about the life cycles of Frogs and Toads or Salamanders.