The characteristics of reptiles and amphibians are so similar that people remain confused between a reptile and an amphibian. Frog enthusiasts often ask around several forums whether a frog is a reptile or not. You need to look for the signs of a reptile to find out the category of frogs.
A frog is not a reptile. Although frogs have several similarities with reptiles, these animals are amphibians. That’s because of their dual life, metamorphosis, larval phase in water, different functions of the skin, sensitivity, and so on.
In this article, I’ll explain why a frog is not a reptile, the similarities in characteristics of frogs with amphibians, and so on. So, if you’re a frog lover, you should jump into further explanations of why a frog isn’t a reptile.
Why Are Frogs Alike With Reptiles?
People often consider frogs as reptiles mistakenly. After all, some features of frogs are similar to reptiles. Let’s see why frogs are alike to reptiles.
- Frogs are vertebrate animals like reptiles.
- Frogs and reptiles are cold-blooded animals.
- Both of them lay eggs.
- Like reptiles, frogs breathe via their lungs. Moreover, many reptiles have a three-chambered heart, like frogs.
- Both of them have four webbed legs and a tail.
- Their defensive tactics are also similar.
Although you might be confused after seeing these similarities, there are several differences between amphibians and reptiles. These differences will let you know why frogs are not reptiles.
Let’s take a quick look at 9 signs that tell you frogs aren’t reptiles.
9 Signs That Frogs Are Not Reptiles: Reptiles vs Amphibians
1. Live Dual Life
The prime reason why frogs are amphibians is their dual life. The reptiles tend to live in dry places in most cases. But, frogs start their initial lives in the water.
After developing lungs, the juvenile frogs start leaving the water. So, adult frogs tend to live in dry places. However, you may notice three types of frogs. Such as terrestrial, arboreal, and aquatic.
No matter what type of frogs are there, all frogs go back to the water to lay eggs.
Thus, frogs tend to live a double life in different phases of their life. On the other way, this trait is missing among reptiles. Due to having this vital characteristic of amphibians, you can not keep frogs in the category of reptiles.
2. Freshwater Is A Must For Frogs
Water is a must in the life of all species of frogs. On the other hand, not all reptiles do not spend a share of their life in water.
You might notice the habitation of several reptiles near the waterside. But, frogs must need water for their larval stage and their phase of pregnancy.
In addition, frogs can survive only in freshwater. Reptiles can survive in salt water, unlike frogs. The experts forbid handling frogs because of the risk of transferring the natural salt of our hands to frogs. It can be fatal for frogs.
3. Squishy and Transparent Eggs
In the case of reptile eggs, these eggs have leathery shells, which are stiff due to minerals. The hard outer shell protects the baby reptile. You can take examples of chicken eggs, bird eggs, etc.
On the other hand, the eggs of frogs do not have any protective outer shell. Moreover, frog eggs are squishy and transparent.
The eggs of frogs are non-amniotic that are similar to the eggs of amphibians. You can see the development of the baby animals inside the see-through amphibian eggs.
Like other amphibians, frog eggs are filled with fluid or jelly-like membranes, which is essential for their further fertilization. For this reason, frogs need water to lay eggs. But, reptiles can lay eggs on land.
4. External Fertilization
Another reason why frogs aren’t reptiles is their external fertilization. All reptiles tend to have internal fertilization by engaging in sexual reproduction. But, the frog eggs have external fertilization outside the female body.
In the mating posture of amplexus, the male frogs release their sperms over the eggs, which the female frogs release at the same time. So, the fertilization of the eggs of frogs happens externally. Since it is unusual for reptiles, frogs can’t be called reptiles.
The reptiles do not have any larval stage. Also, newborn reptiles look like miniature versions of adult reptiles. You can take examples of newborn chickens, snakes, etc.
On the other hand, frogs start their life from the larval stage. In addition, frog eggs go through a metamorphosis process, which brings a massive turnover into their phases.
You might notice 4 cycles of frog life. These are eggs, tadpoles, froglets, and adult frogs. The metamorphosis process does not happen among reptiles.
Reptiles grow gradually from the baby phase to adulthood. Because of going through a transformation, you can not enlist frogs in the classification of reptiles.
6. Breathable Skin
If you notice the characteristics of the skin of reptiles, the epidermis layers must be heavily keratinized. On the other hand, frogs have breathable skins.
Due to having highly permeable skin, oxygen passes through their porous skin. This feature is missing in reptiles.
7. Releases Toxins Underneath Their Skins
Some of these amphibians release toxins from their toxic glands underneath the skin. However, all frogs possess toxin glands underneath their skin although the toxins of all frogs may not be too strong to kill the predators.
On the contrary, reptiles do not have poisonous glands underneath their skins. Some reptiles have poisonous glands in their upper jaw. For example snakes and some lizards.
8. No Scale Or Scutes
In the case of reptiles, their skins are dry, scaly, and tough. Since the scale or scutes are made of keratin, these help reptiles hold the moisture. As a result, the reptiles can live in dry places.
But, frogs miss this special characteristic of scales or scutes. Some frogs have slimy and covered with mucous.
The mucous coating helps frogs keep their skin moist. Moreover, frogs do not get dry out because of the thin layer of mucous coating over their skin.
Due to having porous skin, toxins and harmful chemicals can smoothly penetrate the frog skin. Frogs remain too sensitive to handling. But, the pollutants or chemicals can not penetrate the scales or scutes of reptiles.
I hope this article helped you conclude that frogs are not reptiles. Although frogs share some similarities, these animals belong to the group of amphibians.