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How Long Does It Take For A Tadpole To Turn Into A Frog?

A Tadpole To Turn Into A Frog

Watching tadpoles on their way to be frogs is quite exciting. But sometimes, you might get impatient out of the excitement. It might also bring a bit of worry concerning their health when you don’t know the actual growth timeline of tadpoles. 

So, how long does it take for a tadpole to turn into a frog? On average, it usually takes around 12 to 16 weeks for a newly hatched tadpole to become a frog. They turn into froglets within 9-12 weeks and develop fully in 12-16 weeks. However, the timeframe may vary depending on different species.

Keep on reading to find out more about their growth!

How Long Does It Take For Tadpoles To Turn Into Frogs? 

As we have said, most tadpoles grow into frogs within 12-16 weeks. But in reality, the time frame can have a sky-high difference according to species of frogs. Here are some common frog species you need to know about.

Tadpoles To Turn Into Frogs

American Bullfrog

The life cycle and metamorphosis of the American bullfrog take relatively longer than other frog species. So, if you have one, it might take around 2-5 years to become a fully grown frog. However, bullfrog’s tadpoles hatch within four to five days.

American Bullfrog

Common Frog 

The common frog is mostly found in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. Common frog tadpoles may complete their metamorphosis in around 12-16 weeks

But this may vary depending on the food and water availability. One interesting fact is that these species take full advantage of the spring and summer for reproduction.

Common Frog

Wood Frog

Wood frogs show a swift transformation from tadpoles to maturity. If you have a wood frog, their tadpoles will transform into frogs in 6–12 weeks. In the case of reaching maturity, their males take around 1-2 years, while females take around 2-3 years.

Wood Frog

African Clawed Frog 

Your favorite African clawed frog is quite fast when it comes to reaching maturity. They take only around 8 weeks after hatching to transition from tadpole to frog. Also, they become sexually mature within one year after hatching.

African Clawed Frog

Poison Dart Frog

Poison dart frogs are primarily found in Central and South America. These vibrant-colored frogs might allure you with their tadpole-to-frog transformation. They take only 10-12 weeks to turn into fully adult frogs with bright colors. 

Poison Dart Frog

Tree Frogs

Tree frogs make great starter pets. So, if you have noticed tadpoles from your tree frogs for the first time, hold on for 2-3 months to see fully grown frogs. However, they seem to have a fast transformation when the weather is quite warm.

Tree Frogs

How Does A Tadpole Become A Frog: Growth Timeline 

Frog’s metamorphosis refers to the transformation from a larva to an adult. It can take different times due to the environment, temperature, and available food supplies. However, the following is an average timeline of the transformation that your frog undergoes. 

How Does A Tadpole Become A Frog

First Stage: Eggs

Your frog’s eggs require an aquatic environment for their development. Eggs come as translucent, so you can view what’s happening inside. The developing embryos within the eggs are completely aquatic. 

Even if you look at it, you can’t resemble them with a frog. Frogs lay around 2,000 to 20,000 eggs in one cycle. 

Second Stage: The Tadpole Phase

Frog eggs take nearly three to twenty-five days to hatch. After that, tadpoles come out from hatched eggs. Often, fish and other aquatic animals prey on tadpoles. So, unless you ensure a safe space, every tadpole can’t survive. 

Initially, tadpoles will look like small fish without any legs. As they get older, algae become their principal food source. Within 4 weeks, they can develop their teeth, lungs, and legs

This time, they undergo rapid growth. They turn into froglets with legs, resembling more like a frog, within 9-12 weeks.

Tadpole Phase

Third-Stage: Froglets

The development from tadpoles to froglets sets the beginning of further growth of the tadpoles. Now, you will notice that they look like small frogs. At this point, they grow their legs, tongues, and stronger lungs. However, froglets don’t shed their tails quite yet. 

Fourth Stage: Grown Frogs

Now is the time when your tadpoles have actually grown. So, they lose their tails and grow their legs entirely. However, even after growing, they might take a few years more to reach sexual maturity and fertility.

Why Is My Tadpole Not Turning Into A Frog? 

As tadpoles have a specific timeframe to grow into adult frogs, any mismatch might concern you. However, multiple reasons may hinder their development. This includes improper diet, poor environment, unfavorable weather, and poor health, Some of them are the following.

Why Is My Tadpole Not Turning Into A Frog

Food Scarcity 

Tadpoles can’t develop and transform without the right food. As frogs lay thousands of eggs at a time, the overpopulation of tadpoles in a pond might cause problems related to food scarcity. As a result, your tadpoles might not be getting enough food to grow. 

Besides, you need to ensure proper nutrition for tadpoles to grow. They require a varied diet of aquatic plants and animals, including algae and debris. Unless you ensure this, your tadpoles will grow slowly.

Environment & Weather

Tadpoles can’t transform into frogs unless the water temperature in the pond is just right. Too cold water hinders their growth. Also, if your pool has shadows or steep walls, similar issues may occur. Moreover, your pool needs to have adequate water level as low water level hinders their growth into frogs.


As we already shared, genetics, as in species differences, can slow down the development of tadpoles. While some grow within 16 weeks, some take even 5 years to grow completely. Therefore, before you get all freaked out, check which species you own.

But sometimes, there might be genetic abnormalities behind the scenes. Some abnormalities mess up their growth hormone thyroxine production and delay their growth. In such cases, tadpoles may stay in the pond for years.

My Tadpole Not Turning Into A Frog

Natural Methodology 

Some tadpoles put off development until the next spring and spend the winter in the pond. Winter is not their ideal time to grow into adult frogs. Therefore, they remain in hibernation on purpose and continue to eat and survive. 


Often, tadpoles are affected by parasites or other sicknesses. Thus, they might show unusual behavior and growth. In this case, your tadpoles may take longer than usual to grow into a frog. 

How Do You Keep Tadpoles Alive? 

Tadpoles are very fragile and sensitive. You need to take proper care to prevent them from dying. Therefore, ensuring a few things, such as the following, can keep your tadpoles alive and healthy to transform. 

How Do You Keep Tadpoles Alive

Appropriate Environment

If you are using a container or pond, make sure there is sufficient water volume and depth. Keep the water clean using proper filtration. You need to change the water frequently to ensure that the water is pure and free of debris, uneaten food, and waste. 

Temperature Regulation

Tadpoles need an ideal water temperature to have their growth. So, keep the water temperature within 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit, or around 20-25 degrees Celsius. If you think the water is too cold, use a heater to regulate it. 

Sufficient Oxygen Levels

Tadpoles require oxygen-filled water to grow properly. At home, you can use a bubbler or fountain to aerate the water for them.

Appropriate Nutrition

A balanced diet is crucial to maintain your tadpoles’ health. Tadpoles primarily live on aquatic plants and algae. However, you can feed them formulated tadpole food pellets or flakes as well.

Reduce Handling Time

You might be excited to touch the tadpoles again and again. But this is stressful for them. Don’t touch or put your hands in the pool too much. If you’re relocating them, use clean hands to touch them.

Keep An Eye Out For Sickness

Tadpoles can often become sick. In such a case, they will show abnormal growth or unusual behavior. So, you need to constantly check on them to see if anything’s unusual. If you find any sick tadpoles, isolate them to stop the spread of illness.


Got questions in your mind? Here are a few things most readers ask.

1. What Can I Feed Tadpoles?

Tadpoles are herbivores. So, they consume mostly plant materials in the water, such as algae, tiny aquatic plants, and decaying plant debris. You can also feed your tadpoles creatures like protozoa, aquatic invertebrates, and aquatic insects. 

2. How Many Tadpoles Turn Into Frogs?

Only around 10 of the 4,000 eggs placed will hatch into adult frogs. It is seen that only 1% of the eggs can become fully-grown frogs. Tadpoles are often eaten by predators like fish, snakes, and birds- increasing their mortality rate.

3. How Can You Tell How Old A Tadpole Is?

If you notice gills, a tail, and no legs in the tadpole, then it is under four weeks. Also, if you notice that it’s not swimming or feeding, it’s most likely a few days old. 

Wrapping Up

Knowing “How long does it take for a tadpole to turn into a frog?” can keep you certain about the exact timeframe of when you can see your little frogs. 

However, you can expect most of the frogs to become full frogs in 12 to 16 weeks. However, you have to wait for 1 year or more for a frog to be an adult and sexually mature. 

Therefore, if you notice any abnormality in between, don’t hesitate to take prompt steps to keep the tadpoles safe. 

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