Frogs and toads are both amphibians, meaning they can live both in and out of water. They both vertebrates and belong to the class which includes salamanders. But while salamanders look more like lizards with long bodies and tails, both frogs and toads are short-bodied and tail-less, hence their Greek name “anura.”
They also develop in the same way, from being mostly born as eggs, living under water as larvae or tadpoles, then living on both water and land as adults. They both have vocal cords as well and can even make sounds under water. Plus, both need to breed and lay their eggs in water.
But that’s where the similarities end. The most obvious way frogs and toads differ is with their skin. Frogs have smooth, wet, and velvety (or slimy) skin because they usually stay quite near the water. The toad is more adventurous and travels away from the water, resulting in dry, warty skin.
Frogs tend to lay their eggs in bodies of water without fish. These eggs form a rounded shape. Toad eggs taste nasty and may appear in inhabited bodies of water. They usually take on a long chain-like shape.
Their body shapes are different as well. Frogs have leaner, elongated bodies with long and webbed hind feet, which lend themselves more to swimming and leaping. Toads have short and round bodies with shorter and more muscular hind legs which are better suited to short hops and walking.
These body differences are also what influence their self-protection system. The toad can’t get away as quickly, which allowed them to develop paratoid (poison) glands that are located behind their eyes. This is why when animals bite them, they tend to foam at the mouth and some even die as a result of the poison.
Frogs, however, can jump much farther so their poison glands aren’t as developed. They do, however, excrete a mild poison through their skin. The Brazilian poison dart frog developed this to an extreme, however. Hunters will extract the tree frog’s poison and use it to stun larger game. This poison is the reason why most people develop an itching or burning sensation if they rub their eyes after touching a frog or a toad.
Frogs have differently configured heads as well. They have what is known as “tympanum” or their ears at the sides of their head. It’s covered with a thin piece of skin that protects it. These can hear other frog’s calls from quite a long distance away and some frogs can even hear underwater. Toads have ears, too but not quite as large as the frog’s.
Frog’s eyes bulge out so they can see almost all around them and keep away from predators. The toad has recessed eyes since most predators don’t often bother with them.
Do toads really cause warts? No they don’t. Warts are caused by a virus, not a poor, innocent toad!