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An Amazon milk frog sits on a leaf at Shedd Aquarium.

Amphibians

All amphibians have a common characteristic—moist, porous skin that they can breathe and absorb water through. The skin is so important that some amphibians don’t have lungs or gills anymore! Frogs, salamanders and caecilians show us how diverse amphibian species can be. Indeed, adaptable amphibians are found on every continent except Antarctica and in every environment except the ocean.

Helping local amphibians

Amphibians are the world’s most threatened group of animals—they absorb water and breathe air through their permeable skin, which makes them doubly susceptible to toxic pollutants that end up in the environment. As part of Shedd's Great Lakes Action Days, Shedd scientists and volunteers have been rehabilitating local amphibian habitats to support their populations.

The work doesn't end with restoration. By monitoring the abundance of local amphibians like blue-spotted salamanders and gray tree frogs after restoration work, we can see which changes have the biggest impact and build even better paths toward recovery.

“Amphibians are such amazing animals. Ranging from aquatic caecilians, dart frogs and waxy monkey frogs each one is different from the next. But what connects them all is their impressive ability to breathe and drink through their skin.”

Kim Ralston, Senior Aquarist
A marbled salamander sits in some moss.

Amphibians vs. reptiles

How can you tell if you're looking at an amphibian or a reptile? We break down some of the differences, from smooth skin to hard shells.

Read more

Amazon Milk Frog

American Bullfrog

Gray Tree Frog

Spotted Salamander

Fowler's Toad