What Exactly is an Amphibian?

amazon milk frog
Amazon Milk Frog

Before we get to that, let me throw this out there.  There are five taxonomic classes of vertebrate (having an internal skeleton) animals.  These are fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.  Historically, amphibians and reptiles have been grouped together, often resulting in confusion as to what each group contains.  Amphibians include frogs and toads, newts and salamanders, and caecilians.  Crocodilians, lizards, snakes, turtles, and tortoises are reptiles.

Houston Toad
Houston Toad

The words “frog” and “toad” are not strict definitions.  In general, frogs have smooth skin and are more likely to stay close to water, while toads usually have dry bumpy skin and can be found further from water.  Also, frogs jump and toads do cute little hops.  Same deal with “newt” and “salamander.”  Newts are a kind of subgroup of salamanders and are usually aquatic as adults.  The third kind of amphibian that you’ve probably never heard of is the caecilian.  These look basically like large earthworms and most are burrowers so aren’t seen very often.  Some are quite colorful and one can even grow to almost 5 feet!

Photo credit: Dante Fenolio
Caecilia species Loreto Peru. Photo credit: Dante Fenolio

So that is what amphibians are.  Stay tuned over the next few weeks of “Amphibian Month” to learn some interesting, and some downright weird things about them.



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This is Pop, one of our capybaras. The human in the picture is Wren, and she's working on a training session where Pop stands and is rewarded with yummy treats. This behavior is important because it lets the keepers get a good look at the underside while building a strong keeper and animal bond. Great work, Wren! ... See MoreSee Less

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This is Pop, one of our capybaras. The human in the picture is Wren, and shes working on a training session where Pop stands and is rewarded with yummy treats. This behavior is important because it lets the keepers get a good look at the underside while building a strong keeper and animal bond. Great work, Wren!

 

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Could y’all maybe free range those just in the general zoo pathways? I want to be standing next to a capybara as we both ooh and aah at elephants. Kthnxbai.

Jo you need one! lol Right Jenna Vallone Wasden!

Looks like a giant guinea pig

Laura Alicia Cardenas, It's Pickle!

This is Pop, a capybara. The human in the picture is Wren, and she feels her personal space has been violated by Pop. Pop does not care and proceeds closer. Wren decides she has had enough. Wren tells Pop, "Talk to the hand you big gerbil." Pop hurt by such a statement plots his scheme to dismantle Western Civilization due to Wren's behavior.

Kirsten Ufer - whaaaaat?! Where are the capybaras?!?! I didn’t know we had them!!!

My girl Wren❤, raised up her entire life with guinea pigs decided to go big or go home 😁

Amberlin Parson!!! We need them!

I want a capybara

Emily it’s name is Pop!!! 😩😩😩😩😩😩😩😩

Blake Meyer it's Valentino!!

Sid Byrd Maybe they need volunteers

Love this and capybaras❣️❣️

Loren Westerfield...did you see this!? :)

Hi Wren! You are awesome!

Lindsay Crum!!!

Debra Erica

Cori Salinas Byllye Benavides

Kaylee

Christian

Tara Hans Saxton

Nyxinnia Poe

Cayle McCreary

Rebekah Rea

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