The Difference Between A Frog And A Toad

By Christopher M. Stephens on Tuesday, August 13, 2013
frog
“I don’t see no p’ints about that frog that’s any better’n any other frog.” —Mark Twain, The Celebrated Jumping Frog

In A Nutshell

Frogs and toads are both amphibians in the order Anura with four legs and a compact body. While there are some general differences between the animals we call toads and those referred to as frogs, the distinction blurs at times. It may come as a surprise that all toads are frogs, but whether frogs should really be classified as toads warrants some question.

The Whole Bushel

The true frogs (Ranidae) comprise several hundred, mostly smooth-skinned amphibians with certain distinctive traits. These include possession of teeth, powerful hind limbs for leaping, and the habit of laying eggs in clusters.

Members of the family Bufonidae comprise around 300 species normally referred to as “true toads.” These species are extremely warty and, while toxic, will not give humans warts. Toads lay their eggs in strings, lack teeth, and primarily transport themselves in a walking gait with a few short hops. True toads are defined by parotid glands behind their eyes, which secrete powerful toxins that may prove exceedingly deadly to their enemies.

Still, it would be more fully accurate to refer to frogs, which include toads. Apart from the true frogs, other Anurid amphibian species include the tree frogs, and the fire-bellied toad, which is covered in bumps and looks very toad-like, but is not a true toad.

So, all toads are frogs, but certain non-toad frog species actually resemble true toads far more than the typical frogs they really are. Conversely, some true toads are very smooth, and look like atypical frogs.

Show Me The Proof

Frogs and Toads
What’s The Difference Between a Frog and a Toad?
Frogs & Toads (visual comparison)