National Frog Jumping Day – May 13, 2021

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ThuMay 13

National Frog Jumping Day is on May 13, and we have the history behind how this day started. While the name itself may seem rather vague, its origins come from Mark Twain’s first published short story about a betting man and his pet frog. Did you know that there are approximately 7,300 species of frogs around the world and the most colorful ones are the most poisonous? National Frog Jumping Day is important because it brings literature to life, as well as brings awareness to different kinds of frogs and their impact within our ecosystem.

History of National Frog Jumping Day

The history behind National Frog Jumping Day has turned into a tradition that came to life from the idea of a short story. Mark Twain, one of the most famous and celebrated authors in literature, published his first short story named “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” in 1865. This story also goes by “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog” and “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” The premise of the story is about a man named Jim Smiley, a compulsive better. He trains a pet frog he names Dan’l Webster and bets his frog can jump higher than all the other frogs in town. The man who he bets with ends up tricking Smiley and wins the bet.

 Inspired by this story, Calaveras County in Northern California started hosting a Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee during the third week of May. The first event was held in Copperopolis, California in 1893 but has since made its permanent residence in Angels Camp. The fair spans four days and offers classic fair food, award-winning wines, carnival rides, rodeo, and live music, amongst other things, but their main event is the frog jumping competition. One frog named Rosie the Ribeter has held the jumping record at 21 feet, 5 ¾ inches since 1986. Even though there are other frog jumping competitions throughout different cities in North America, the one at Calaveras is the most popular and well-known because of its relation to Mark Twain’s short story. This day allows people to celebrate the agility of frogs and to embrace literature in a new and exciting way.

National Frog Jumping Day timeline

1835
History in the Making

Mark Twain is born on November 30.

1865
Published Story

Mark Twain publishes his first short story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.”

1893
Frog Jubilee

The first Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee are hosted in Copperopolis, California.

1986
Record High

Rosie the Ribeter, a frog, breaks the jumping record at the Jumping Frog Jubilee for jumping 21 feet, 5 ¾ inches.

National Frog Jumping Day FAQs

What is the longest recorded jump by a frog?

 At only three inches long, the South African sharp-nosed frog can jump over 130 inches. This is approximately 44 times the length of its body.   

 

Is April National Frog Month?

The month of April is National Frog Month, crediting frogs for how much they help humans out. 

 

How do I enter the jumping frog contest?

If you happen to visit Calaveras County’s Jumping Frog Jubilee, you can enter a frog for competition. The frog must be at least four inches long, it must keep its feet on a lily pad before jumping, and is allowed three jumps. The distance from the center of the lily pad to the end of the frog’s jump is measured.   

 

 

How to Celebrate National Frog Jumping Day

  1. Host a frog jumping competition

    Do you have or know anyone with pet frogs? Get all of them together for a friendly frog competition. If not, you and your friends can have a competition to see who can jump the farthest.

  2. Read Mark Twain’s short story

    If you want to learn more about how this day came about, why not read the short story that started it all! It must be good if it sparked an annual jubilee.

  3. Visit a nearby pond or aquarium

    Study frogs in their natural habitat at a nearby pond or go to a local aquarium and read up on a few more facts about frogs. You may learn something new.

5 Facts About Frogs You Can’t Hop Past

  1. Self-watered

    Frogs don’t need to drink water since they absorb it through their skin.

  2. Lords of leaping

    With one leap, some frogs can jump 20 times the length of their body.

  3. Goliath frogs

    West Africa has the largest frog, aptly named the goliath frog, measuring one foot long.

  4. Golden but deadly

    The skin of one golden dart frog can kill at least 1,000 people.

  5. Vintage views

    Even though amphibians have differently shaped pupils, they can only see in black or white.

Why We Love National Frog Jumping Day

  1. It lets you embrace your inner child

    When was the last time you brought out your inner child? Revisit your childhood and think like a frog.

  2. It brings awareness to frogs

    Frogs are vital to the food chain and the environment. They eat insects and are a primary source of nutrition for snakes, birds, and other animals.

  3. It is embedded in literature

    The beginnings of National Frog Jumping Day started because of a short story. This day brings to life the frog jumping contest that Mark Twain wrote about.

National Frog Jumping Day dates

YearDateDay
2021May 13Thursday
2022May 13Friday
2023May 13Saturday
2024May 13Monday
2025May 13Tuesday