Frogs Reveal the Health of Our Planet


Ashley Turek, Journalist


          Amphibians may be able to tell how healthy our planet is. If the earth is not in good condition many animals may go extinct from things like the quality of the air. 

          For example amphibians are strongly affected by waste pollution because of their skin being permeable. Meaning it allows liquid or gasses to pass through it easier. Their skin allows toxins from the water many spend most of their time in to go into their skin and strongly affect them. The toxins in waste pollution can make their population decline rapidly. This is not good because amphibians are important to the ecosystem. 

         Amphibians also play an important role in ecosystem energy flow, and nutrient cycling. Ecosystem energy flow is the flow of energy in a food chain. An organism gets energy from sunlight to use to make its food. If amphibians go extinct this food chain will be interrupted and then animals would starve and die, unless they move to another habitat. 

          Nutrient cycling is a system where energy and matter are transferred between living and nonliving parts of the environment. This occurs with amphibian waste, and if amphibians are gone then this will cut into nutrient cycling as well. All animals will be affected if nutrient cycling gets interrupted because nutrient cycling is the process of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, phosphorus, and nitrogen recycling through the environment.  Animals need this everyday to live.  

          Amphibians are also prime to the ecosystem because they are predators. They  eat things like insects to stop the spread of disease. They are very supreme to the ecosystem. 

          This is how amphibians can tell how healthy our planet is: Amphibians love lounging in the sun to keep their body temperatures at the right level. If they possibly go extinct it’s because climate change is happening and they can’t keep their body temperature at the right level to survive. They also usually live in water, especially when they are young so if climate change happens and makes water areas dry up in the future, then most amphibians will go extinct. Basically, these effects with amphibians will be able to let us know how well or bad the earth is doing.

          So from all of this we have learned that if amphibians go extinct, we know that it’s because our planet is not healthy. 

            Reading all of this, you might want to know a little more about amphibians.

          Amphibians are vertebrates, or creatures with a backbone and internal skeleton. Some examples of amphibians are frogs, toads, salamanders, and caecilians. They have special glands on their skin that produce mucus and other liquids to keep their skin moist, and most have nature colored skin to camouflage in their surroundings. Along with camouflaging to keep themselves safe, they also have light poisons that come out of their skin to kill predators when they grab them. Another way amphibians defend themselves is by flashing color out of their chests, to warn predators when under attack. They are very easy prey to other animals, however they have managed to survive for millions of years using these methods.

          Amphibians have “two lives”. Their first is when they start off life in a fluid filled egg and breath through gills, and their second is when they leave the water to become land-inhabiting adults. When these creatures start living on land they live in a wide variety of places. Both natural and man made. Some places are mountain lakes, desert washes, woodlands, and grasslands. More specifically, ponds, lakes, streams, alpine and pinewood forests, and wetlands with lots of moss. Surprisingly they also live in cities too! It’s a great habitat for frogs, toads, and salamanders. Parks, roadside ditches, gardens, and greenhouses and some of the spots. Additionally, amphibians are mobile creatures, meaning they move around a lot to find food and mates.

          Adult amphibians are mostly all carnivores. They eat other animals, mostly insects. However, some eat both animals and plants. 

           In amphibians’ daily lives they hop, leap, run, jump, swim, walk, and burrow. Burrowing is burying themselves with the help of their hind feet which are specialty shaped to burrow. Mostly toads do this, and spend much of their time like this underground. 

          In conclusion, amphibians are able to tell us how well our planet is doing by the time they start to go extinct, which is not good because they are key to the ecosystem.