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7 ways to spot the differences between a frog and a toad


Images via Pixabay

May 13th is Frog Jumping Day, but instead of making this day all about frogs, we thought we’d involve toads, too. Because let’s face it — sometimes it’s hard to figure out which is which. Frogs and toads are closely related. They’re both amphibians and they’re both found on every continent on Earth, except Antarctica. While they look an awful lot alike, there are some big differences between frogs and toads. We’ll break it down for you!

Difference #1: habitat

Frog in the water; toad on the gravel ground.
Images via Pixabay

Both frogs and toads begin life as a tadpole in water. They eventually lose their tail and develop legs. A frog usually lives in water (left), like ponds, lakes and streams. But a toad (right), on the other hand, lives on land and is often found in fields, gardens and forests.

Difference #2: eyes

A frog peeks out of the water.
Image via Pixabay

If you look closely, you’ll see that frogs and toads have very different looking eyes. While frogs’ eyes are round and bulge out, toads’ eyes are shaped like a football and do not stick out of their head. Toads also have glands behind their eyes that produce poison. When a toad feels threatened, this poison oozes from the glands and can make animals sick.

Difference #3: legs

Frog and toad, side by side.
Photo by Sue Cro licensed CC BY-NC 2.0 and Photo by Phil Long licensed CC BY 2.0

Frogs (left) have long, powerful legs that are built for hopping. A toad’s back legs are much shorter and not as strong (left). So instead of hopping, a toad crawls or walks along the ground.

Difference #4: tongue

Frog sits on log with its mouth open.
Photo by Marsel Minga licensed public doman

Frogs and toads have a long, sticky tongue that launches out of their mouth to capture prey like bugs, lizards and small mice. The tongue grips onto the prey and carries it back to the mouth. A frog tends to have a longer tongue than a toad. They sometimes miss a meal when they try to snatch it with their tongue. But a toad’s shorter tongue means it needs to be closer to its prey, so it rarely misses its mark!

Difference #5: skin

Toad side-by-side with frog.
Images via Pixabay

This is an easy way to spot the difference between a frog and a toad. While frogs have smooth, moist skin that makes them look slimy (right), toads have dry, rough, bumpy skin (left).

Difference #6: eggs

Toads mating with a string of eggs; a frog in the middle of clouds of frog eggs.
Images via Pixabay

Female toads and frogs lay their eggs in water. But a frog lays eggs in a cluster or clump under the surface of the water (right) and a toad lays its eggs in a long chain (left). And there are even some toads that give birth to live young rather than eggs.

Difference #7: teeth

Frog eats a bug while sitting on a lily pad.
Image via Pixabay

It turns out most frogs have teeth in their upper jaw. But toads are toad-ally (get it?) teeth-free. Frogs use their teeth to stop their prey from escaping their mouth. When it comes to eating, both frogs and toads don’t bother chewing their food. They swallow a meal whole.