Frogs and toads are both amphibians. They belong to the anura family. Their fossils have been found and dated to as far back as the Jurassic Period. Frogs and toads are usually found near fresh water, but certain types live in the Arctic region and others in deserts. They are found on every continent except Antartica. In cold places, both frogs and toads hibernate, either under the ground or at the bottom of ponds or lakes. They catch live prey with their sticky tongues.
There are about three thousand five hundred types of frogs and toads. Scientists are not in agreement regarding the differentiation between frogs and toads. Earlier studies focussed on true frog (Ranidae) and true toad (Bufonidae) types but further research has shown that some types of frogs display closer resemblance to toads. However, local usage of the words frog and toad has given rise to a generally accepted differentiation.
Toads have broader, flatter bodies than frogs. The skin of a toad is usually dry and is covered with patches that look like warts. It is believed that handling toads causes warts in human beings, but this is not true. Frogs have smooth, moist skins. Their skins are covered with mucus, giving them a slimy feel.
Frogs have long, powerful back legs which enable them to jump and swim. Those that live near water also have webbed feet. The back legs of toads are shorter, and are more suitable for hopping.
Frogs lay their eggs in clusters and toads lay their eggs in long chains.
Toads have poison glands behind their eyes. When they are threatened, they release a poisonous fluid. Some types of toads may secrete poison that is harmful to humans, but this is rare. In frogs, the poison glands are generally situated in their skins. Most frogs do not give off a particularly potent poison, but some frogs in Central and South America are extremely venomous. People living in those areas use the poison in their weapons. An example is the poison dart.
Most frogs have teeth on the upper jaw and on the roof of the mouth. These are not used for chewing; they hold the prey firmly until it can be swallowed. Toads do not have teeth.
Both male and female toads have an ovary which is called a bidder’s organ. There are some toads which give birth to young toads, unlike the usual egg to tadpole process.
The chest cartilage of a toad is different from that of a frog.
Frogs have many predators; this is not the case with toads, because their secretions give off an unpleasant taste.
A detailed study of frogs and toads would show many shared characteristics across the hundreds of types. In conclusion it can be said that all toads are a sub-set of frogs, but all frogs are not toads.