Frog vs Toad: Differences Between a Frog and Toad

For most people, these two amphibians are interchangeable and have no significant difference. However, there are many differences between a frog and toad, and in this guide, you will learn all of their distinct features.

Skin Differences

While a herpetologist, person who studies amphibians, can tell the difference between a toad and a frog from their skin patterns to their eye color, other people would find difficulty doing so. Keeping that in mind, there are many visible differences between a frog and a toad that anyone can spot from far away.

Showing the differences between a frog and toad's skin
Frog on the left and toad on the right

Starting with the skin, regardless of which species the frog or toad belongs to, they all share the same type of skin.

Frogs have a slimmer, moist skin that is smooth to touch whereas a toad has dry and bumpy skin that is rough to touch. The skin of both of these animals, while being their most recognizable feature, has uses other than aesthetics. Since frogs breathe through their skin, the layer of mucus on it gives moisture to the skin to allow them to stay on land for longer periods of time.

The toad, on the other hand, has a more interesting use for its skin. The bumps on the toad’s skin, which makes the skin rough, give the toad a bitter smell and taste.

This bitter smell and taste can burn any possible predators eyes and nostrils. This in many ways resembles the defense mechanism of a skunk, which is why a toad is the least likely prey for many animals.

Leg Differences

One of the most famous traits of a frog is its legs. These thin twig-like legs give frogs the ability to jump to unexpectedly tall heights. These legs are also their primary defense against predators, as they can leap far from a predator’s reach.

Comparing frog legs vs toad legs
frog on the left and toad on the right

Unlike their slimy narrower counterparts, toads have short and stubby legs. These legs allow them to hop in quick succession or run, but they cannot jump or leap like frogs.

Since toads already have their skin to protect them from predators, their small legs compliment this defense mechanism as they can make a quick escape.

The Eyes

In the case of eyes, both toads and frogs have similar eyes with very few differences. Frogs have very bulgy, round eyes slightly above their skull. While different species of frogs have different types of eyes, and all of them share the same placement as well as the shape.

Much like frogs, toads also have slightly bulgy eyes, but this is where their similarities end. Unlike frogs, their eyes are not round and are oval shaped. Their eyes are also somewhat lower than that of frogs, giving their face a flattering look.

Frog vs Toad Living Conditions

Due to their skin and bodily features, frogs and toads have very different living conditions. Frogs require constant moisture for their skin; so, they prefer places with ample patches of water such as swamps and ponds.

Toads, however, don’t have prerequisites living conditions. Toads can sustain themselves in a drier environment compared to their counterparts. That said, toads will eventually need to find themselves water, as even toads need moisture to survive. You can often find frogs and toads in the same swamp or near the same pond. Frogs are the easiest to find especially after rainy days as puddles form on the streets.

Food

Even though toads and frogs have very different physical characteristics, they share a resemblance when it comes to their diet. Both toads and frogs are omnivores, which makes them capable of surviving on both plants and flesh.

Their diet mostly includes algae, spiders, snails, and other types of small swamp creatures. Another difference between frogs and toads is that frogs tend to have vomerine teeth in their upper jaw. These teeth allow frogs to eat small fish and other slightly hard creatures that toads would not be able to eat.  Since toads have no teeth, they prefer to eat insects and small plants rather than small fish.

Lifespan

The lifespan of a frog or toad often varies depending on the environment or habitat they grow in. In an ideal habitat for a frog, with ample water and small fishes and insects, it can live for 20 or sometimes 40 years.

Toads, like frogs, can go up to 20 or 40 years in an ideal habitat. Most times, a perfect habitat is hard to find for both frogs and toads, which shortens their lifespan greatly. So on average, toads can live for seven to fourteen years. The lifespan of these amphibians also greatly depends on the predators that are around them.

Eggs

Regardless of the difference in habitat, toads, and frogs both lay their eggs in water, but do so in different ways. While the frog lays its eggs in clusters, toads lay their eggs in a somewhat chain formation.

comparing toad vs frog eggs
toad eggs on the left frog eggs on the right

Another big difference between a toad and a frog is with respect to the type of eggs they lay. Frogs lay proper eggs which hatch after a period of time, whereas toads can sometimes give birth to live young. This is a rare abnormality in toads.

Conclusion

Although frogs and toads belong to the same family of amphibians, they have many different and unique traits. While a frog can leap and jump to safety, toads have warts and poisonous glands that often keep them safe from predators.

Nevertheless, their most unique feature is definitely the difference in skin. Not only does it have a different feel, but it has a different texture and different look. In conclusion, there are many differences between toads and frogs, some minor and some major, but ultimately they are not the same.