Understanding the Differences Between Frogs and Toads

cane toad

A cane toad.

It’s certainly easy to confuse frogs and toads – after all, they are both small amphibians with similar appearances that can often be found sharing the same environments. However, there are a few important differences to note that will have you easily identifying each with no trouble at all.

Physical Characteristics

  • Frogs are strong jumpers with long, powerful hind legs, while toads have short, muscular legs that are used for walking and hopping.
  • The skin of frogs is typically smooth, moist, and loose around their bodies, while the skin of toads is typically bumpy, warty, and dry.
  • Frogs have teeth on their upper jaws, used for grabbing and catching prey, while toads have no teeth at all.
  • Frogs’ eyes bulge out, while toads’ eyes do not.
  • Both frogs and toads have a lot of variation in size amongst sub-species, but toads do tend to be larger.
  • Some types of frogs have webbed feet, while toads do not.

Behavioral Characteristics

  • Frogs lay eggs while some toads lay eggs and others give birth to live young.
  • Frogs prefer moist environments and mostly live in water, while toads prefer dry environments and live mostly on land, although some toads have adapted to moist environments.

It’s also important to note the similarities that exist between toads and frogs, other than the similarities in just their appearances. Both frogs and toads live an average of 7-14 years, though some have been reported to live as long as 40. They also have very similar diets, feeding on insects, worms, algae, small fish, and invertebrates, which is why they can often be seen sharing habitats around marshes and swamps. Both toads and frogs can also be extremely poisonous, with the golden poison frog being the single most poisonous animal in the entire world. Fortunately, there are no known poisonous frogs in Florida, although people should keep an eye out for cane toads, which produce a toxin that can be lethal to both pets and humans.

To observe frogs and toads for yourself and practice telling them apart, take an airboat tour in the Everglades with Captain Mitch and his friendly crew. Everglades tours are a fantastic way to experience all the beautiful wildlife that Florida has to offer, providing thrills the whole family can enjoy and will remember for years to come.