Do frogs have hair - Wolverine frog

Do frogs have hair? (And if not, why not?)

Frogs and toads don’t have hair and don’t need hair to keep warm. They are cold-blooded animals that depend on their surroundings to regulate their body temperature.

There is, however, a frog that looks like it has hair. The ‘Wolverine Frog’ (Trichobatrachus robustus) has physical extensions of the skin that protrude in hair-like shapes. Read on to find out more…

Why don’t frogs have hair?

Simply put, frogs are amphibians and amphibians don’t need hair.

For mammals, including humans, hair on the body plays an important role in regulating the temperature of our bodies. When it is cold, tiny muscles around the hairs cause the hair to stand up. This traps a layer of air above the skin, helping us to stay warm.

Frogs don’t have hair because they don’t need to do that.

How do frogs keep themselves warm or cool without hair?

As you may know, frogs and other amphibians are cold-blooded. This means that the body of the frog is the same temperature as its surrounding environment.

When a frog is cold, it will go to a hotter place to warm up. When a frog is hot, it will go into water or on to a cold surface to cool down.

Is there a type of frog that does have hair?

Wolverine frog with hair
Wolverine frog with “hair”

The answer to the question ‘do frogs have hair?’ is no. They don’t have hair, as they don’t need hair to control their body temperature in the same way mammals do.

However, there is a type of frog that looks like it has hair.

‘Hairy Frogs’, also known as ‘Wolverine Frogs’ or ‘Horror Frogs’ (Trichobatrachus robustus), are a very unusual-looking type of frog.

Native to Central Africa, at first glance, it looks like the Wolverine Frog has hair, but this is not the case.

The “hairs” you see are actually ‘dermal papillae’, which breeding males develop on their sides and thighs.

Dermal papillae is a scientific term for physical extensions of the skin. These skin extensions contain arteries, which help absorb oxygen from water. It’s thought that these are useful to male Wolverine Frogs, as they stay with their eggs for some time after the female lays them in water. Their “hairs” therefore help them to breathe more easily.