A curated collection of vintage frog illustrations to add to the zoological illustrations on the site. All the prints are in the Public Domain and free to print.
One of my children’s first lessons on the wonders of the natural world was experiencing the amazing life cycle of a frog. In springtime, every nursery school they attended had a tank of frog spawn. Over the weeks, the kids would watch the frog spawn transform into tadpoles and then frogs.
The study of frogs continued onto secondary school when the poor creatures were used for dissection in biology class. Thankful due to animal welfare concerns, dissections are now virtual, with ‘digital frogs‘.
As well as real frogs, my children came across many fictional frogs. From the story of the Frog Prince to the TV personality, Kermit the frog.
Many people think of frogs as being lucky. They are a popular collector’s item. That is the figurines, rather than real frogs. People do keep frogs as pets though.
Personally, I love frogs. This is why I have decided to curate this collection of amazing frog illustrations and prints. Many years ago, I built a small pond in my town garden to attract them. It worked, every year we get frogs laying their spawn in our tiny pond.
I also know quite a few people who don’t like frogs. Some even have a phobia of frogs (Ranidaphobia). Those people won’t even come into my garden in the spring when my pond is full of frogs.
Fun and Interesting Facts about frogs
Before I share the vintage frog illustrations I’ll share some facts about them
- Frogs are carnivorous, tailless amphibians.
- All toads are frogs but not all frogs are toads. Frogs are normally referred to as species that are aquatic or semi-aquatic with smooth wet moist skins. On the other hand, toad refers to species that are terrestrial with dry warty skins. However, there are exceptions to this rule.
- The smallest frog species is the Paedophryne amauensis of Papua New Guinea that is 7.7 mm in length
- The Goliath frog of central Africa is the largest frog at 32cm in length and 3.25kg in weight.
- Frogs are found on all continents, except Antarctica. They are most abundant in tropical rainforests.
- One gram of the toxin produced by the skin of the golden poison dart frog could kill 100,000 people.
- The collective noun for a group of frogs is an army.
- Many frogs can jump 20 times their own height.
- Frogs don’t need to drink water. They absorb water through their skin.
- A frog’s call is unique to its species. Some frog calls can be heard up to a mile away.
- Frogs play an important role in many ecosystems. They control the insect population and they’re a food source for many larger animals.
- Frogs are a symbol of luck in many cultures, such as Japan. The Romans believed that having a frog would bring good luck into the home.
- The Irish on the other hand, consider the frog a close relative of the leprechaun, and thus very capable of playing tricks on you.
- Frogs are also a symbol of friendship. The first frog of spring is said to bring you many friends if it hops in your direction.
- For the Chinese, the frog is linked to wealth. According to Feng Shui, a money frog symbolizes the flow of money. In Feng Shui lore, a money frog statue with a coin in the mouth placed in the right spot in your home will attract wealth.
- Toads are not considered as lucky as frogs, probably due to their association with witchcraft. Also, there is an old wife’s tale that says handling a toad will result in getting warts.
The Vintage Frog and Toad Illustrations
This collection of vintage frog and toad illustrations are from old natural history books that are in the Public Domain.
To download the frog print that you want, click on the title above that print. A higher resolution image will open as a new window in your browser. If you right-click on that image, you will have the menu option to save that image to your hard drive.
I know that quite a few of you like to use the vintage images on the site for scrap booking and crafting. To help with this I have removed the background on a lot of these frog illustrations and created a clip art sheet. You will find this at the end of the post.
This beautiful vintage frog illustration from the German Natural history book “Gemeinnüzzige Naturgeschichte des Thierreichs “. The title translates as, Charitable natural history of the animal kingdom“. The book is by Georg Heinrich Borowski, 1780.
Another wonderful frog drawing by Heinrich Borowski, 1780.
These frog illustrations are by Dutch pharmacist Albertus Seba. He was a passionate collector of natural history curiosities. In 1716 Peter the Great bought his massive collection.
In 1734, Seba published his Thesaurus, titled Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri accurata descriptio, translated as “Accurate description of the very rich thesaurus of the principal and rarest natural objects“. The vintage frog illustrations are from the collection.
Another fabulous frog drawing by Albertus Seba 1734.
This drawing from the Iconographia Zoologica – Special Collections University of Amsterdam. Schneider’s (dwarf) toad, a common toad from India and Sri Lanka.
The growling grass frog, more commonly known as the warty swamp frog is a species of ground-dwelling tree frog native to southeastern Australia.
Drawing by Arthur Bartholomew 1861.
This South American frog is commonly known as the four-eyed frog. The name refers to two poison glands that resemble eyes. When threatened, the frog lowers its head and raises its rear. When the frog adopts this posture, the poison glands are also raised toward the predator.
Another drawing from the Iconographia Zoologica – Special Collections University of Amsterdam.
The four frogs in this vintage illustration are;
- Rana Aurora – Northern red-legged frog
- Rana Maritima
- Oregon spotted frog – Rana Pretiosa
- Rana Draytoni – California red-legged frog
Images from United States Exploring Expedition (1838-1842); Wilkes, Charles. The expedition was important to the growth of science in the United States. Many of the species and other items found by the expedition helped form the basis of collections at the new Smithsonian Institution.
Vintage frog zoological drawings of a cane toad and other American frogs. The illustrations are from the same US expedition above.
The cane toad is the world’s largest toad, with an average length of 10–15 cm (4–6 in) . The largest recorded specimen was 24 cm (9.4 in).
The cane toad has poison glands, and the tadpoles are highly toxic to most animals if ingested. Its toxic skin can kill many animals, both wild and domesticated, and cane toads are particularly dangerous to dogs.
Pacific tree frogs are common on the Pacific coast of Oregon and Washington, but they are found from extreme northern California to British Columbia.
These drawings of the pacific tree frog and others on this print are also from the US expedition 1844.
Another collection of frog drawing from the Iconographia Zoologica – Special Collections University of Amsterdam.
A wonderful detailed drawing of the Jamaican laughing frog.
Narrow-mouthed frog from the Indian subcontinent, “Catalogue of the Batrachia Salientia and Apoda (frogs, and toads,) of southern India” 1888 by Edgar Thurstan.
The edible frog is a species of common European frog, used for food, particularly in France for the delicacy frog legs.
The European fire-bellied toad (Bombina bombina) is native to mainland Europe and is a popular pet due to its bright-colored belly.
Blue-and-yellow frog or bicolor tree-frog is a species of leaf frog from the Amazon basin of Brazil.
For those of you who like to craft with these images, I have created a frog clip art sheet to download.
There is a wonderful frog illustration in the collection of Mark Catesby prints.
Don’t forget to check out some of the wonderful species-specific illustrations in the Pictureboxblue Natural History Collection. These include vintage illustrations of rabbits, penguins, polar bears, giraffes and reindeer.
There are also some wonderful educational animal posters of Adolphe Millot showing collections of animals.