Difference between toad and frog


The difference between frog and toad has no taxonomic value, both frogs and toads belong to the same order, that of anurans. The words frog and toad are used to refer to light and graceful looking tailless amphibians, such as frogs, as opposed to the more robust and clumsy amphibians, as canads are.

At first glance, however, many frogs are considered toads and vice versa. This is why, in this article from Bright-Pets, we will see what is the difference between toad and frog, we will see what are the characteristics that define them as well as some well thought out examples! Let’s go !

Origin of amphibians

The possible ancestors of amphibians are fish called panderiptides, which lived in the Devonian. They were fish with lungs, they grouped into two groups:

1. Batrachomorpha

Which have given birth to three groups of current amphibians:

  • Anurans: tailless amphibians in adulthood, such as frogs and toads.
  • Urodeles: amphibian with tail, like salamanders and newts.
  • Apoda: amphibians without legs like cécilies.

2. Reptiliomorphs

Who gave birth to reptiles.

Anurans have populated all continents except Antarctica and certain desert or polar regions.

Characteristics of frogs

Frogs are animals extremely linked to water or very humid environments. They have glands of ectodermal origin on their entire body which, in some cases, have evolved into venomous glands, like the parotid glands, behind the eyes. These glands do not act on contact, only if the animal is bitten. Many frogs have adhesive glands that are found at the finger cups and are used to climb trees.


Characteristics of toads

Toads need less water than frogs because their skin turns out to be more protected thanks to the presence of hundreds of warts, giving the toad a rougher appearance. They can live near puddles and some lakes, however, but they generally prefer more muddy places where they can build tunnels to protect themselves from drying out.

In addition, toads can have kinds of spurs, which are corneal protrusions located on the hind legs which allows them to catch up after a jump or to put themselves above the female during mating. On the other hand, toads are also animals that run more than they jump, they tend to walk on all fours instead of moving by jumping.

Did you know what the female toad’s name is? The toad? Well no ! the female of the toad is called the toad, so the frog is not, as you will understand, the female of the toad.

Difference between toad and frog

While it may seem easy to differentiate a frog from a toad, many mistakes can be made, as there are exceptions and, as we said before, the terms frog and toad are used colloquially. Here are the main differences between frogs and toads:

  • Skin: the skin of frogs is smooth, soft and very moist. The toads’ skin, on the other hand, is rough and dry.
  • Way of moving: frogs are animals that jump to move, they are very agile, excellent swimmers and, in very many cases, arboreal. Toads are runners, they can jump, but they prefer to move using their four legs. Toads are also known to dig small tunnels.
  • Appearance: one of the main differences between a toad and a frog is that toads tend to be larger animals, strong in appearance and very muscular. Conversely, frogs are leaner and thinner, which does not mean that they do not have the strength and power to move quickly.
  • Habitat: finally, there is also a difference between frog and toad in terms of where these two animals prefer to live. Frogs are aquatic and their skin dries quickly without the presence of water. Toads are terrestrial animals that maintain better water control in their bodies and they only need a little bit of moisture, which they find in the soil, to survive.

Toads species

The majority of the toad species are poisonous toads which diffuse a strange odor, in general, which is harmless to the human being, the problem comes when a wild animal, or domestic, like a cat or a dog, ends up bite a toad, because it is at this time that they secrete toxins which, in contact with the mucous membrane of the mouth of the animal, causes it to be released quickly. Some species of toads are:

  • Alyte midwife (Alytes obstetricans)
  • Common toad (Bufo bufo)
  • Cultriped Pelobat (Pelobates cultripes)
  • Oriental bell ringer (Bombina orientalis)
  • Green toad (Bufo Viridis)
  • American Toad (Bufo americanus)
  • Buffalo toad (Bufo Marinus)
  • Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus); it is a toad although it is called frog
  • Calamite toad (Bufo calamita)


Frog species

Unlike toads, frogs are not always poisonous, there are even species of frogs that serve as food for human beings, such as the green frog, or the edible frog (Pelophylax esculentus). On the other hand, some species of frogs are among the most venomous animal species in the world, these are the frogs that belong to the family Dendrobatidae:

  • Colombian kokoi (Phyllobates terribilis)
  • Blue poison dart frog (Dendrobates azureus)
  • Wood Pigeon (Dendrobates tinctorius)
  • Phyllobates bicolor (Phyllobates bicolor)

Other species of frogs are:

  • Lessonae europea
  • White frog (Pelophylax ridibundus)
  • Field frog (Rana arvalis)
  • Pérez frog (Pelophylax perezi)
  • White tree frog (Litoria caerulea)