Catherine August, of Wairakei Primary School, asks :-

Why do frogs hop?

Alex Davies, a veterinary anatomist at Massey University's Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Science, responded.

Frogs can walk, crawl, swim and even glide, but a hop of six to seven times their body length is one reason why frogs are famous.

To decide why they hop, we have to look at what frogs do so that they get enough to eat each day while keeping out of harm's way and not being eaten themselves.

Frogs catch insects on the wing by sticking them to their tongue. Many frogs manage to do this in mid-air at the top of a jump maybe 20 cm from the ground. They have to be unseen, quick to see and act, and accurate in their aim. Also, to stay alive, frogs must use a quick hop to avoid a kingfisher or other animal that wants a tasty dinner of frog. So a frog keeps very still and merges with its surroundings, until those long hindlegs with big muscles launch this smart missile into space.

Think about other hopping animals such as fleas, grasshoppers and kangaroos, and why hopping is important to them too.