Are Frogs Reptiles? No! Here's Why

Maybe it's the inquisitive lizard-type eyes that make animal lovers assume frogs fall into the reptile category. Or perhaps it's because frogs are often green and brown, like many reptiles. It could also be assumed that frogs are reptiles simply because they are often housed near the geckos, skinks, and other reptiles in pet stores.

So, are frogs reptiles?

No! Frogs are amphibians, a unique class of critters all of their own. Here's what you need to know about these unique pets.

What is an amphibian?

An amphibian is a small vertebrate animal (meaning it has a backbone) that requires a moist environment to survive. Amphibians include frogs, newts, salamanders, and toads.

Amphibians have very thin skin that allows them to absorb water from the lake, marsh, or other waterways they call home. Amphibians also have cool skin glands that serve various purposes. Some help fight fungal or bacterial infections, while others help the animal process oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water.

When it comes to reproduction, amphibians have unique offspring that start as a jelly-like egg, develop into larva (for frogs, this stage is known as a tadpole), then transform into the adult form of their species. This process is called metamorphosis.

Amphibians and reptiles do share several characteristics. Both are vertebrates, have short legs, enjoy being in the water, and absorb heat from their environment. So, it's easy to see how reptiles and amphibians can get confused for one another.

Defining Characteristics of a Frog

Are you curious to learn if that creature you spotted by the river was a frog? Look for the features of an amphibian we just discussed and the following specific frog characteristics.

A healthy frog does not have dry skin. Instead, they have a shiny, thin layer of mucus covering their body that helps keep them moist and healthy. Look closely at a frog, and you'll notice they have smooth skin. If the skin is bumpy, you're looking at a toad!

If you see a "frog" head peeking out of a pond at you, and it hisses or grunts — it's not a frog! It's likely a reptile. Frogs make croaking noises and tend to create quite the chorus in the evening to capture a mate's attention.

Even though they're often lumped with the lizards and skinks of the world, frogs are amphibians — not reptiles. But like a reptile, frogs can make a great pet. Thinking about getting a froggie friend? Learn more about housing, feeding, and caring for pet frogs before bringing home your new buddy.

Are Frogs Reptiles? Zilla Blog Post


Shedd Aquarium, Amphibian or Reptile? Here's the Difference
Center for Biological Diversity, Frequently Asked Questions About Amphibians and Reptiles
National Geographic, Amphibian Pictures & Facts
The National Wildlife Federation, Amphibians