Do Frogs Shed Their Skin & Eat It?

Do Frogs Shed Their Skin & Eat It
Written by Daniel Paul

Shedding is a common phenomenon in frogs. This process is to get rid of stiff and dry skin and make a new one. Frogs are particularly frugal when it comes to shedding off their skin. After shedding the skin, they eat up the shed to regain all the nutrients and avoid any loss.

Amazed, right. So, if you have a pet frog, how do you care for it during shedding? What do you need to know about this whole process? Let us talk all about shedding, frogs eating their skin, and how you take care of a shedding frog. Continue reading till the end, and don’t forget to make your notes in your little pet diary to help you late.

When it is time to shed skin, the frog makes a rip in the skin and then stretches its body to remove it. 

To remove the skin and make a fine rip, the frog assumes a crouching scrunched-up posture. The posture, along with stretching, helps in easy removing the skin.

Why Do Frogs Shed Their Skin?

Frogs breathe from their skin. They need to keep it soft and full of vessels to maintain perfect respiration. Therefore, they have to shed the skin and avoid its hardening.

Frogs have cutaneous breathing in the water. The hard skin will not allow enough gaseous exchange. Therefore, one of the vital reasons for shedding is that a new soft and moist skin is essentially needed for respiration.

Another reason can be a fungal or bacterial infection that causes shedding. We will discuss this type of shedding in the later section.

How Often Do Frogs Shed Their Skin?

Frogs shed skin almost daily. Some frogs have a longer shedding time and shed once or twice a week.

The shedding frequency depends upon the type and size of the frog. Also, the environment and habitat in which the frog is living affect the shedding time a lot.

Do Frogs Feel Pain When Skinned?

Frogs have pain feeling receptors (nociceptors) right in the above layers of the skin. These receptors work more or less like those of humans. So, any pain stimuli, mechanical or chemical, can cause severe pain depending on the intensity.

So, no doubt shedding is a painless process as the dead skin comes off itself. However, if you try to remove the skin yourself, it can cause immense pain.

Moreover, human hands can cause severe irritation to frogs. As we have a lot of natural oils and salts on our skin, we can easily hurt the sensitive, soft, and moist skin of little frogs. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid handling frogs unless it is an utter necessity.

Why Do Frogs Eat Their Shed Skin?

Frogs eat their skin to recover the lost skin.

As discussed before, frogs living underwater breathe from their skin. Therefore, it is essential for them to continuously renew their skin and shed the old one. Unlike reptiles, they have to do so frequently to make sure they get enough gaseous exchange. However, this frequent shedding will make them lose the important nutrients in so much quantity that it will result in malnutrition.

Therefore, amphibians, particularly frogs in our case, have adopted the tip of eating the shed skin to regain all that they lost during the process. However, reptiles do shed, but the shedding process is not that frequent. Usually, shedding in reptiles is once or twice a year or even less (once in many years as they age). Therefore, they can easily recover from the trauma with an increased diet.

Shedding Due To Fungal Infection:

Fungal infections in frogs can lead to excessive shedding and wasting away of the skin.

The worst part is that you can hardly distinguish between fungal infection and a normal shedding process if you are not an expert.

Fungal Infections On The Frog:

Fungal infections on the frogs appear as sore whitish patches. Here are the few basic differences between the infection and normal shedding:

Different Type Of Shedding In Frogs
Skin remains around the same as natural color or goes a bit darker.
The skin has sores and patches
Skin remains smooth
Fizzy, cloudy, whitish patches appear. They may be confused with water foam or salting.
The skin is removed as a whole single patch
Skin is removed in the form of patches
Skin Irritancy is close to that of natural's
Skin becomes very irritant.
Frog behaves normally unless you try to pull off the shed skin
The frog becomes very defensive and irritant.

When you see any of these signs, you know it’s time to worry.

Chytrid Fungus is the most notorious fungus of all for causing skin infections in frogs. It is known to infect the parts of skin having keratin. It blocks the permeability of the frog’s skin and hence affects the respiratory process. Therefore, breathing is difficult, and gaseous exchange is never enough.

Chytrid also attacks the central and peripheral nervous systems of the frogs, which leads to abnormal behaviors and madness in the frogs. Therefore, the infection from this fungus can also lead to death.

Signs Of Shedding In Frogs:

Following are the two most important signs of shedding:

  1. The body posture as described above show that your frog is about to shed.
  2. Moreover, you see the ripping of the skin at the time of shedding.


You see, shedding in the frogs is a frequent process that is essential for its survival. Never ever try to take any skin off from the frog while it is shedding. It will not only disturb the natural process but also will cause immense pain. Give your pet enough time, space, and peace to complete the process naturally. Also, do not get restless at the sight of a frog eating its own skin. It is completely normal and essential.

If you see any signs of fungal infection as described above, abnormally slow shedding, or any other abnormality, it will be wise to visit your vet as soon as possible.

I hope this article helped you clear all your queries. In case of any other questions, comment below or email us. We would be happy to help.