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LET'S EXPLORE The animal kingdom

What are amphibians?

A male American toad, calling for a mateA male American toad, calling for a mateFrogs, toads, salamanders and newts are all amphibians. Most amphibians have smooth, moist skin and live in or close to water. They hatch from eggs laid in water. They breathe and feed under water until they become adults. Their bodies change and they develop lungs, allowing them to live out of the water and breathe air. Frogs and toads lose their tails and grow legs when they become adults, but newts and salamanders simply grow larger.


Giant bullfrogGiant bullfrog
Blue poison dart frogBlue poison dart frogFrogs have long legs. These help them make huge leaps and swim quickly. Adult frogs are carnivorous: they feed on insects, snails or worms. Larger frogs will also eat fish, other frogs and even small mammals. Frogs have small lungs. When under water, they take in oxygen through their skins. They need to keep their skins moist in order to do this.

A red-eyed tree frogA red-eyed tree frog
Some small kinds of frog live in trees. They have pads on their toes that help them to grip on to leaves. A few kinds have large webbed feet. These act like tiny parachutes, which help the frogs glide between trees.

There are two key differences between frogs and toads. A frog's skin is usually smooth and moist, while a toad's is lumpy and dry. Frogs move around by hopping, but toads crawl.

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