Toe Pads of Tree Frogs

A Tree Frog (an arboreal frog) has sticky toe pads on each of its four toes. 

The toe pads are not suction pads. The toe pads function through wet adhesion.

The surface of each toe pad has flat-topped, hexagonal-shaped (six-sided) cells, with grooves, that grip surfaces. This is called an intercalary structure.


Inside the grooves on the toe pads is sticky mucous that enables the frog to stick to surfaces. The mucous also cleans dirt from its toes. The mucous comes from mucous glands.

Do other frogs have toe pads? The terrestrial, or ground frog, has smaller toe pads because it doesn’t need to climb as much as the tree frog. Frogs that live most of their lives in water also have small toe pads. 

[Location of photographs: Paris Jardin du Plantes Zoo, France]

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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