Frogs have a permeable skin, but the “breathing” takes place on the surface of the skin, where oxygen is dissolved and enters the bloodstream, kind of like a permanent transdermal patch. This is one of the reasons they are more vulnerable to environmental toxins.
Frogs can absorb some oxygen through their skin from the water, but not enough to sustain it indefinitely, so it needs to come to the surface to breathe once in a while – unless it’s in a hibernative state. Under water, it cannot breath via lungs, because lung need an intake of air, not water, to function.
Frogs have three modes of breathing. They can absorb oxygen through their skin in a process called cutaneous gas exchange. Frogs (and toads) also have lungs from which they can breathe when not underwater or burrowed in soil. Lastly, they absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide across the roof of the mouth in a process called buccal respiration. The mode of breathing the frog uses depends on what they’re doing, what type of frog it is and what time of year it is.
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