Frogs and Toads

One of the most common questions is, "What is the difference between Frogs and Toads?"

Most are surprised to hear that all Toads actually are Frogs!



Generally speaking, though, when we think of frogs, we generally picture what are called "True Frogs"....
members of the family Ranidae, containing more than 400 species.
These frogs have the characteristics of:
  • two bulging eyes
  • strong, long, webbed hind feet that are adapted for leaping and swimming
  • smooth or slimy skin (generally, frogs tend to like moister environments)
  • Frogs tend to lay eggs in clusters.
Frogs from this family can be found on every continent except Antarctica. They are referred to as the "true frogs" because of their generalized body form and life history: the so-called generic frog.
Members of this family include the bullfrog, common frog, green frog, leopard frog, marsh frog, pickerel frog, and wood frog.



The term toads tends to refer to "True Toads"....
members of the family Bufonidae, containing more than 300 species.
These types of frogs have are characterized by:
  • stubby bodies with short hind legs (for walking instead of hopping)
  • warty and dry skin (usually preferring dryer climates)
  • paratoid (or poison) glands behind the eyes
  • The chest cartilage of toads is different also.
  • Toads tend to lay eggs in long chains. (There are some toads (genera Nectophrynoides), however, that are the only types of anurans to bear live young!)
True Toads can be found worldwide except in Australasia, polar regions, Madagascar, and Polynesia, though Bufo marinus has been artificially introduced into Australia and some South Pacific islands.
Besides Bufo, the family includes 25 genera, all of which, like the frogs, are anura!

Images are from the clip art archive on

The physical distinctions, however, can easily get blurred because sometimes the features appear mixed or less obvious, and certain species even legitimately fall into both categories. It is not uncommon, for example, to find a warty skinned frog that isn't a toad, or even a slimy toad! Even the more invisible stuff like cartilage structure has been found to sometimes fit both categories!

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