How to Learn More About Amphibians

Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates that, for the most part, spend a part of their life living under water (the larval stage) and another part of their life living on the land (the remainder of their life). Amphibians breathe through their gills when they live under water and following metamorphosis, they breathe through their lungs when they emerge to live on land. Some amphibians will go on to breathe through their skin or the lining in their mouth. Here are some broad tips on learning more about amphibians.


  1. Image titled Learn More About Amphibians Step 1
    Know your amphibians. Amphibians are:
    • Frogs (tadpoles)
    • Toads (tadpoles)
    • Salamanders
    • Newts
    • Caecilians (legless, burrowing, similar to salamanders)
  2. Image titled Learn More About Amphibians Step 2
    Understand the amphibian life cycle. In general, amphibians hatch from eggs and live in the water in their baby stage. During this stage they grow legs. Once they change (metamorphosing), their gills usually disappear and for frogs and toads, the tail disappears.
  3. Image titled Buy Your Own Business Step 1
    Recognize the common traits amongst amphibians. Amphibians tend to have in common:
    • Soft, moist skin
    • Cold-blooded
    • An affinity for water throughout their lives; most can swim and walk on land
    • A need to hibernate in colder climates
    • Ability to change body temperature with the environment
  4. Image titled Learn More About Amphibians Step 4
    Find out more about amphibians. There are several ways to find out more information about amphibians:
    • Self-study: Observe nature for real. If you are near a pond on a farm, in a park or in another area frequented by amphibians, you can watch them for yourself. Frogs are usually the easiest as tadpoles are easy to spot. You can catch them gently with a net to observe the different stages that the tadpole is at; for instance before legs, with legs, at froglet stage and then as a frog. Always handle gently and place back into the water with care. Do not keep tadpoles out of the water for too long.
    • Library: Research in books on amphibians in general or on the specific animal that interests you. Look in the reference section, as well as the children's and adult's non-fiction sections. Books with colourful pictures will help you to identify the different types of amphibians, which is especially important if you are either studying them or planning on keeping them as pets.
    • Internet: Some of the best websites for learning good information will come from museums, wildlife parks, zoos and very experienced amphibian keepers. Using a search engine, type in the name of the amphibian you are interested in learning more about. There are some useful links provided below.
    • Visit a wildlife park/zoo or aquatic centre: Often such places will have big displays of amphibians through glass. This enables you to see the life cycle easily and will likely be accompanied by information. Ask an attendant if you want more information.
    • Ask a biologist or zoologist: ask a local university professor or someone you know who works in this field for more information.
  5. Image titled Learn More About Amphibians Step 5
    Be aware of the importance of amphibians as "environmental indicators". Did you know that frogs are one of the world's best indicators of environmental health? When the frogs disappear from an area they are supposed to be in, that is a sign that the environment is not well. Major threats to amphibians include pollution, accidents such as being squashed under vehicles, invasive species, natural disasters (for example, fire, flooding) and illegal trade. You can learn more about this fascinating aspect of amphibians through websites dedicated to protecting animal species or visit Global Amphibian Assessment as one example.


  • Brazil is the country that has the most amphibians in the world - over 700 species!
  • Be very knowledgeable about the preferred conditions of your amphibian before you buy or catch one to keep. They are delicate when kept captive and can suffer disease easily. Make sure you have an excellent set-up for them and that you are aware of their nutrition needs, care needs and temperature/lighting needs before getting them.
  • Ask lots of questions of people you know who keep or have kept amphibians as pets if you are interested in keeping them as pets.


  • Be aware of proper handling methods for amphibians. Some have poisonous skin and should be treated with great care, or not handled at all.
  • Don't make the mistake of thinking turtles or tortoises are amphibians; they're reptiles.

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Amphibian