Frog Skin: The Ultimate In Recycling

Frog Skin: The Ultimate In Recycling

Frog skin. I never really thought about it.  Other than it feels slimy to the touch. Hmmm, bet you never thought about it either, did you?

But it could just be the best use of recycling we have seen. No way. Frogs (& toads) are good recyclers?

But first what is recycling? Think about collecting used glass bottles and making them into a new product. Or composting your food and turning it into nutrient-rich additions for your soil.

So how and why do animals recycle? Well, it turns out lots of animals recycle. But I think frogs & toads get first prize for the best form of recycling.


frog skin

Frogs & toads win the prize for recycling

frog skin

Frogs breathe and take in water through their skin.

So What Exactly Is A Frog?

Frogs are amphibians, meaning they are cold-blooded animals that need moisture or water to survive. That’s one reason you find them around ponds.

And they drink and breathe through their skin. You can learn more about them at our Frogs: Explore & Learn page.


Frog Skin Is Amazing

frog skin

Frogs can often change color to camouflage themselves from predators.

When frog are out of the water, their skin secretes mucous to keep their bodies moist. The mucous also helps them draw oxygen into their bodies so they can breathe. Pretty remarkable when you think about it.

And have you ever noticed all the different patterns on frogs? Some have bright colors to warn predators they are toxic to eat. Others are mottled to camouflage themselves.  There is also a group of frogs that change color to blend into their surroundings.

How Do Frogs Shed?

A frog’s skin has to stay moist, otherwise, the frog can’t breathe. As the skin drys out and begins to harden, the frog needs to get rid of it. But how?

Well, they make a rip in the membrane and then stretch it to cast the old skin off. Some frogs shed their skin every day and others, every few weeks. How cool.



frog skin

Frog skin must stay moist so the frog can breathe.

frog skin

Frogs eat their skin once they shed it. Photo: Mokele

So What Happens To The Skin?

Because there are so many nutrients in the skin, the frog eats the skin to get the vitamins and minerals back. Ah, the ultimate recycler!

The frog also wants to leave no trace of its presence. Frogs have many predators (birds, snakes, otters, and lots of other critters) so the frog is also covering its tracks by eating its skin.

So there you have it. Frogs are feeding themselves, recycling and protecting themselves all by eating their skin. Amazing.


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