What is the difference between a toad and a frog?


Picture of a marbled reed frog.

For centuries toads and frogs have had a bad reputation.

“They cause warts.”

“Witches can turn people into toads and frogs.”

Who has not heard the fairy tale of the ugly frog that turns into a handsome prince when kissed by a princess?

However, since the popularity of Kermit the Frog in the children’s TV program “Sesame Street” and in “The Muppet Show,” frogs have been getting a more favorable press.

What is the truth about frogs and toads?

How do they differ?


Toad or Frog—What is the difference?


Let us set the record straight—viruses, not toads, cause warts.

And fairy tales are just that—fairy tales, fiction and myth.

And although witches do exist, they cannot change a person into a frog or a toad.

Frogs and toads are found in most parts of the world, but there are no frogs in Antarctica, nor are there toads in the Arctic.

There are about 3,800 species of frogs and toads, of which over 300 are toads. So how can you distinguish a toad from a frog?

The World Book Encyclopedia answers:

“Most true toads have a broader, flatter body and darker, drier skin than do most true frogs. True toads are commonly covered with warts, but true frogs have smooth skin. Unlike most true frogs, the majority of true toads live on land. The adults go to water only to breed.”

Frogs are usually found near water, ready to jump in when they hear you coming.

Most frogs have teeth only on their upper jaw.

Toads are toothless.

Thus, both swallow their prey whole.

Many frogs and toads produce powerful poisons.

The reddish-colored Costa Rican poison arrow frog (Dendrobates pumilio) is one example. Some frog poisons can easily kill a person.

The book Biology states:

“Native tribes in the tropics often poison their arrow tips by rubbing them on these frogs.”