Frogs and toads are very similar and also very different. They are both reptiles and have similar diets.
Exactly what is the difference between frogs and toads and how do you tell them apart?
Body shape and skin
Frogs usually have a sleek body with a smooth skin. Their back legs are quite long and this helps them to be very good at both swimming and jumping. Usually a frog will look shiny and wet. If you catch a frog you will find that it is quite difficult to hold because the skin is very smooth and slippery. Toads, on the other hand, have a fatter appearance and the skin looks bumpy and leathery. Their back legs are shorter and fatter and they often walk instead of jumping. When they do jump, they only jump a short distance and can’t jump high. They can swim, but don’t spend a lot of time in water. I have never actually held a toad, but I have been told that their skin is leather and not smooth like the skin of a frog.
Frogs and toads eat differently too. A frog has a long tongue that it can flick out quite far and fast to catch unsuspecting insects and this is its main food. Toads have short tongues and they have to get up close to their prey to be able to catch it and eat it. They too eat insects, but also eat worms, slugs and other creatures that they can get close to and catch.
I am sure you know that frogs love water. They are great swimmers and like to spend a lot of time in the water. Their skin also needs to keep moist, so they will not travel far from water. To give frogs a home in your yard you will need a pond. Frogs will usually sleep in muddy holes on the edge of a stream or pond where their skin will not dry out. Frogs will sometimes sit on a sunny rock near the water, but will quickly dive back in if they are disturbed. Toads can live in drier conditions and don’t need a pond to survive, but they do need water for breeding. They prefer to hide away during the day and come out in the evening to feed. It is easier for them to catch their prey at night because they can get close up without being seen. During the day they will often hide under rocks or logs where they are safe from their predators and can keep cool.
Frogs and toads are very similar when it comes to breeding. Both frogs and toads will usually mate in the spring. The females lay lots of little eggs in water and these will hatch out as tadpoles. The tadpoles will live in the water until they develop into either frogs or toads and are able to use their legs. The tadpoles will eat things like algae and decaying plant matter and, as they get bigger, they might catch and eat a few small insects or other water creatures.
There are many different breeds of frogs and toads and sometimes it is very difficult to tell the difference. There will be some that will not fit all of the features that I have told you about. Fortunately many of the common species have the characteristics that I have mentioned here and these should help you to know which ones are frogs and which are toads. Do you have frogs or toads in your yard? Let us know what you have learned about them by leaving a comment below.