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Do Frogs Shed Their Skin? All You Need To Know

Do Frogs Shed Their Skin

If you have a frog, you may have caught it shedding and eating its own skin. This may have triggered many questions in your mind, like whether this is a normal thing for the animal and why it does it. Luckily, this guide will help you out.

Do frogs shed their skin? Yes, frogs shed their skin periodically; this can be daily or weekly, depending on the species. But unlike other animals, the frogs shed their skin and push it in their mouths to eat it. This helps ensure they recycle all the nutrients they used to produce the skin.

In this article, we will dig deeper into the process of frogs shedding their skin, why they do it, how often they do it, why they eat their skins after shedding, and so much more.

Do frogs shed their skin?

Different species of frogs shed their skin naturally, which is part of their growth and development. This skin shedding in the amphibian is usually referred to as sloughing or molting.

During the shedding process, the frog gets into a scrunched-up and crouching position and then proceeds to create a rip on the old skin. The frog then stretches itself so that the old skin comes off.

Do frogs shed their skin

However, note that the duration and timing of the frog skin-shedding process differ from species to species.

However, most pet owners have reported catching their frogs sloughing in the morning hours. The timing and duration can be uniform for the same species but can differ between frogs of different families and groups.

When shedding, some frog species start by puffing up their bodies with air.

However, terrestrial frogs tend to use lateral movements of their entire bodies as they usually have shorter limbs. Yet, some frog species prefer slouching their old skins from an elevated area, e.g. a vertical surface or a wall.

During the shedding process, the outer keratinized layer of the skin is usually removed as a single piece. This removal process involves movement of the body and limbs—leading to the loosening of the outer skin layer, which can then slide off easily.

Note that your frog may look like it is choking during the shedding process, but this is not a reason to worry as your frog is perfectly fine. The whole process can take days to complete.

You may see it rubbing its head and opening its mouth weirdly, which is nothing to worry about as it’s just shedding its skin and eating it (more details on why the frog eats its old skin coming up later in this post).

Once your frog sheds its skin and reveals the new skin underneath, its colors and patterns appear even more vibrant. You can grab this change and take photos of your frog to appreciate its beauty!

The video below shows a tomato frog caught shedding and eating its skin

Video:

Why do frogs shed their skin?

Now you may be wondering, why the frogs shed their skins. There are many reasons why these animals tend to lay off their old skin as we have discussed below:

Why do frogs shed their skin

Frogs shed their skin to avoid hardening

As you already know, frogs use their skin to absorb water as well as breathe. As a result, frequently renewing their skin may be an adaptation to help them keep their skin from hardening to a point that it becomes less permeable to oxygen and water.

Sloughing helps ensure optimal bodily functions

Frogs are highly vulnerable to various skin problems. And having old skins can lead to a wide range of health issues in these animals.

Apart from breathing and drinking water, the frog skin serves other purposes such as ion transfer, heat transfer, camouflage, predator deterrence, etc.

As such, routine shedding of dead skin cells paves way for new skin cells to grow. This ensures these bodily functions continue running smoothly, so the amphibians can thrive in the wild.

Shedding is a way of getting rid of diseases in frogs

Climate change has contributed to emergence of new infectious diseases. Unfortunately, these diseases are causing the extinction of frogs, which are a crucial part of our ecosystem as they are bioindicators of environmental health.

Shedding is a way of getting rid of diseases in frogs

Research conducted by the University of Queensland on skin sloughing in frogs showed that they use this as an immune defense mechanism. They studied the green tree frog (Litoria caerulea) due to its high vulnerability to chytridiomycosis, the fungal infection responsible for deaths of large numbers of amphibians across the globe.

The fungus responsible for this disease and other microbes tends to live on the frog’s outermost skin layer, which the frogs shed periodically.

The study concluded that when the frogs shed their skin, the number of harmful microbes and fungi reduces significantly.

However, this shedding also causes loss of protective microbes, which can then give way for pathogens to take hold.

Do frogs shed their skin and eat it?

Many frogs have been observed shedding their skins and then eating them. While this may seem totally gross, it is all part of the natural process for these frogs.

The reason why the frogs eat their old skin is that the skin carries many nutrients that may otherwise go to waste if they just drop the skin.

Therefore, eating and digesting the old skin helps the frog recover all the nutrients the skin carries, including calcium, proteins, and other helpful nutrients.

Do frogs shed their skin and eat it

Another reason why frogs eat their skins after shedding them is to help them cover their tracks. Just like any other animal, frogs have predators that are always waiting for an opportunity to eat them.

As such, frogs may opt to eat their skin rather than leave them behind to help cover their tracks so that predators don’t know they’re nearby.

How often do frogs shed their skin?

The outer skin layer of these amphibians is shed regularly. This can be after a few days to several weeks, depending on the species.

Frogs shed their skin weekly, though some amphibians tend to shed their skin every day.

How often do frogs shed their skin

Environmental factors such as humidity and temperature can influence the frequency of skin shedding in different frog species.

As we have just above, the reason for shedding skin is to keep it from hardening and becoming impermeable to oxygen.

This explains why frogs need to shed their skins more regularly.

Do water frogs shed their skin?

Water frogs also shed their skin, just like other species of frogs. The process is pretty much the same as that of other species.

The old skin layer loosens and separates from the rest of the body. Once the old skin is shed and eaten by the frogs, the new, vibrant skin lying underneath is exposed.

Do water frogs shed their skin

Skin sloughing is an important practice for frogs as it enables them to get rid of dead skin cells, parasites, and other pathogens and debris that may have accumulated on their bodies.

Shedding frequency for water frogs can vary from a few days to weeks or even months. This depends on the species as well as the environmental conditions the frogs live in.

Do African dwarf frogs shed their skin?

African dwarf frogs also shed their skin regularly as a natural part of their lives s they keep growing.

However, his frog may also shed its skin due to other reason, e.g. if they are suffering from a fungal infection, due to bad weather conditions, or due to a sudden change in water parameters.

As for the shedding frequency, the frogs due to it periodically but there is no precise when it happens, Younger frogs tend to do it more frequently than adult frogs.

This video shows you the African dwarf frog shedding its old skin and eating it

Video:

Do grey tree frogs shed their skin?

Grey tree frogs also shed their skins periodically, just like other frog species.

But they don’t leave it at that. They go ahead and eat it, as they know the dead skin contains many nutrients that can be beneficial to their bodies.

The reason for shedding their old skin is similar to other frogs. That is, it helps with pathogen load reduction, keeps the skin from hardening, and ensures optimal bodily functions.

Watch this video of a grey tree frog shedding its skin and eating it

Video:

Do PacMan frogs shed their skin?

Pacman frogs also shed their skins regularly. However, the frequency of shedding also varied between individuals, though baby frogs tend to shed more frequently.

The adult frogs can shed from daily to once every week. They usually shed their older skin in one week and then eat it.

Do PacMan frogs shed their skin

However, keep in mind that low humidity in your vivarium may cause the frog to not shed properly.

Therefore, it is important to ensure your frog’s tank has humidity maintained at the recommended levels at all times.

The process of shedding their skin is a fascinating aspect of frog biology, contributing to their growth and renewal. If you’re interested in learning more about frogs, you might find our guides on where do frogs lay their eggs and how do frogs give birth intriguing as well. Our guide on where do frogs lay their eggs explores the diverse habitats and locations where frogs deposit their eggs for reproduction. Additionally, if you’re curious about the birthing process of frogs, our guide on how do frogs give birth provides insights into the unique reproductive strategies employed by different frog species. By exploring these guides, you’ll gain a better understanding of the diverse adaptations and intriguing behaviors of frogs.

Conclusion

Frog shedding skin is a natural part of their growth and development. This has several benefits including ensuring optimal bodily functions like water and oxygen intake and reducing a load of pathogens hosted on their old skin. The frogs eat their old skin to recover all the nutrients it carries and to help cover their tracts and avoid predation.

The shedding frequency varies between species, though it can occur anywhere from a few days to weekly. Sometimes it may take longer. Baby frogs also she more frequently than adults. So, next time you see your frog shed and eat its skin, you shouldn’t be worried as it’s just a natural process.

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