Difference Between Tadpoles and Frogs (With Table)

There are many types of animals living on earth. These all can be differentiated on the basis of where they live, what they eat, what they produce, and many more. The most common is where they lice while most of them live on land. Some tend to live underwater; they are called terrestrial and aquatic animals, respectively. But very few are those who can live both on land and underwater. Among the animals that are both terrestrial and aquatic are the frogs and few species of tadpoles.

Tadpoles vs Frogs

The main difference between Tadpoles and Frogs is that tadpoles are the larval stage of an adult frog. It turns into a frog with time. Along with this, what differentiates them is where they live. All species of frogs are amphibians, i.e., they live in both land and water, but tadpoles are aquatic animals (except few terrestrial species).

The larval stage of amphibian is known as Tadpoles, which lives underwater only except few who can live on land as well. It is around 14 weeks or 100 days for tadpoles to turn into an adult frog. They are born with internal gills helping them to survive underwater.

After certain period tadpoles turn into frogs, which are amphibians, they live underwater as well as on dry land. They are of green color with silky and soft skin. They do not have a tail but do have external gills. They lay their eggs under the water. The life span of a frog is around 10 to 12 years maximum.

Comparison Table Between Tadpoles and Frogs

Parameters of Comparison



Physical Appearance

short, oval bodies with no external gills

Two bulging eyes, Strong feet with external gills.

Lives on

Only in water (except few spices)

Both land and water


They have denticles

They have tiny teeth

No. Chambered Heart

They have 2 chambered hearts

They have 3 chambered hearts

Types of Skull

Soft skull

Fully developed skull

What are Tadpoles?

Tadpoles are also known as polliwogs, are infant frogs that are small in size, just like fish. They are aquatic animals and have tails and gills which help them to swim and breathe in water. They are born without limbs. There are various features they lack in the initial days, but by the time they develop fully, all the characteristics of a frog are developed in them.

Things that are required by the tadpoles to survive include:

  1. Water: the most important thing is water. They have gills. Therefore, they can breathe underwater easily, and most of them are not terrestrial; therefore, it becomes essential for survival.
  2. Food: they are babies. Therefore, they require more food. Tadpoles are herbivore that’s mean they need plants or something natural to eat.
  3. Warmth: warmth helps them to grow faster and become adults. This is also one of the major reasons that frogs lay eggs during summer or spring.

Physical Characteristics:

  1. Oval and small body: their body is not like frog they are much smaller in size
  2. Long tail: they have a tail from birth which eventually becomes very small
  3. No external gills: there are not external gills on tadpoles from birth.
  4. Two chambered hearts: they initially have only 2 chambered hearts.