Do fish sweat? Do fish have sweat glands?

On a hot summer day at a beautiful tropical island, you’d be drenched in sweat. What about a fish?

Do fish sweat? Does it even have sweat glands to sweat? Nope. A fish doesn’t have sweat glands, nor do they sweat. The simplest way I can explain it is that animals and humans alike sweat to regulate warm body temperature, but a fish is not warm. So, it doesn’t need to sweat to regulate its body temperature.

Are you intrigued? Do you want to know why this is the case for fish? Then skip to the next section and start reading.

Do they sweat?

A fish doesn’t sweat because it doesn’t need to. Even if it could sweat, this doesn’t help it in any way. Most animals that sweat is mammals. Why? Mammals are warm-blooded animals that need to sweat to cool down.

Imagine a hot sunny day, and the room temperature is broken, you begin to sweat insanely. Now, it doesn’t feel as hot, uncomfortable sure, but not feverish hot. You are probably sweating because it is going to maintain your body temperature. If you didn’t sweat, you’d get a fever.

A fish doesn’t sweat because it lives in the water. In case you were wondering, it doesn’t feel that warm underwater. What about the sweat glands? Well, you can learn all about it ahead.

How Temperature Affects Fish Behavior (Video)

Do they have sweat glands?

Before I talk about sweat glands, you should know the difference between sweat and sweat glands. It’s not that complicated. Sweat glands are a part of the human skin, which creates sweat.

Most warm-blooded animals need to regulate their body temperature. As a result, some of them need sweat glands to sweat, which cools down the body temperature when it’s too hot. On the other side, you have cold-blooded animals, which don’t feel hot.

Fish are cold-blooded animals, and so, they don’t really sweat. Understandably, if a fish doesn’t need to sweat, they don’t really have any use for sweat glands.

Understanding how sweating works

If you’ve reached this far, let’s talk a bit more about sweat – why it’s necessary, and how do humans sweat? Let’s start with the how. How do you and I sweat? To understand this, you need to put your skin under a microscope.


When you do that, you’ll find sweat glands, which is where you’ll find pores. From these pores, there is a liquid released, more specifically salty water. Once you sweat, and it evaporates, it creates a cooling effect that makes your body feel cooler. Hence, the reason why it’s released when our body temperature is high.

What about animals?

Is sweating the only thing animals do to cool down? No. Animals do all sorts of things to cool down:

  • Pooping/peeing – Aside from sweating, some animals poop or pee on themselves to creates the same cooling effect. They leave it on their feet, and when it evaporates, they feel cooler. This is usually done by birds.
  • Mud – A pig doesn’t roll in the mud for fun – okay, maybe it’s an added benefit. The real reason they roll in mud is because it creates a protective layer that keeps them from getting too hot. Also, the mud eventually evaporates, which creates a similar effect as sweat.
  • Blood sweat – For animals that spend the majority of their time submerged, they require something more than a fur or a coat to maintain body temperature. What could this be? It is a red oily skin, also known as blood sweat. It creates a barrier to protect them from all that sun.
  • Panting – You may have noticed your cat or dog panting after a run. Other animals in similar situations pant. They inhale cold air and exhale hot air. Thus, creating a cooling effect inside the body.
  • Cool water – At the end of the day, it all comes down to cool water. They could go inside a pond and start splashing water on themselves. Y’know, like how we take a nice ice-cold bath when it’s hell outside? It’s the same with animals.

Fun fact: Animals also lick themselves to get colder.


So, before you ask, fish don’t have any other way to cool themselves like other animals. Simply put, a fish doesn’t sweat, nor does it need to. Hence, a cold-blooded fish that doesn’t sweat won’t need sweat glands. Friendly tip, the situation is a bit different when your fish is in an aquarium. It can get hot in there, and a fish isn’t used to the heat, nor does it have sweat glands to cool down. So, during a heatwave, when you can feel the water boiling, fill the aquarium with some ice cubes to make the water temperature cool down.

Related Questions

Do fish have sweat glands?

No, a fish doesn’t have sweat glands. Why? It is because they are cold-blooded animals. Sweat glands release sweat, which eventually evaporates. When it evaporates, the body feels a bit colder. Now, you probably know the reason why you sweat during hot weather. Cold-blooded animals, as the name suggests, are always cold, so they don’t need to sweat. On the other hand, warm-blooded animals like mammals would need to regulate their temperature, and this is why they have sweat glands.

Can a fish sweat?

Since a fish never gets out of the cold blue waters, it doesn’t feel hot. When it doesn’t feel hot, why would it need to sweat? It won’t need to sweat. However, if the situation was reversed, and the fish finds itself in a warmer climate, do you think it can sweat? The answer is again a no because a fish doesn’t have sweat glands. Underwater, things are still a bit cooler compared to the temperature on land. A fish couldn’t sweat even if it wanted to, because it would need sweat glands.

What animal has sweat glands?

Most mammals have the ability to sweat, but that doesn’t mean every mammal has sweat glands. Your cats and dogs often sweat because they are mammals. There are other mammals like apes and horses that also sweat like a human. All these animals, and others, sweat because they have to. Not all mammals and other types of animals sweat to cool down. Instead, they try to cool down by rolling in the mud, taking a bath in cold water, panting, blood sweat, etc.

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