Toad VS Frog



Modified: 02 Jun 2022

For the toad vs frog debate, we’d like to ask you a personal question. Have you ever been in a position where you were walking down the street and thought you recognized a good friend, only to discover it’s a random stranger, weirded out by your very casual approach towards them? Not only could the lack of personal space cause an issue should you have done more than just call out to them, but also the embarrassing notion that you didn’t even see the difference between them and your good friend. This kind of thing happens and one good example is when you’re out and meet an adorable frog. Or is it a toad? Can’t tell the difference? Not to worry, we’re sure you can after this read.

Toad VS Frog
Source: Wikimedia Commons

You can look at pictures of cute frogs and confuse them with a toad. On the other hand, you can even visit a friend and meet their pet toad thinking it’s a frog because their similarities are uncanny. Albeit often mistaken for each other, what’s the difference between a frog and a toad then? The answer is that it has a lot to do with their evolution and preferred lifestyles. Identifying one from the other isn’t that hard once you learn to focus on their differences.

But first, what are frogs? They’re small and tailless animals that prefer to be near bodies of water. Meanwhile, what is a toad? The truth is, they are the same, except they favor wide areas such as grasslands rather than a frog’s habitat. There’s even a big chance you’ve come searching for information regarding them to check whether your garden has a frog or a toad. We know we’ve done it before, so there’s no real shame in it. Or perhaps, you’re deciding whether to go for a pet frog or a pet toad, as well. Either way, these squished pieces of information surrounding their differences and similarities will surely help you. This may even help you decide on which one you favor the most: frog or toad.

Table of Contents

Toad vs Frog: Origins in the Anura Kingdom

To first find the differences between a frog and a toad, we should also look at their shared history. For starters, both came from the Anura Kingdom, whose animals are tailless by nature. If you come to a point to ask where do frogs live, the answer remains to be almost anywhere, except places with extreme cold or heat, just like most Anura Kingdom members.

Toads refer to the Anura family known as Bufonidae.

The saying that all toads are frogs, but some frogs are toads, is true. Toads are indeed frogs that come from a subclass of the Anura Kingdom known as Bufonidae, or True Toads. In this class, all of those included are toads. Moreover, some of these toads have names showing them to be frogs, which can confuse many.

True frogs also exist in the family called Ranidae.

If the true toad members get their own little club, so do the true frogs. Their family is called the Ranidae, which has many subfamilies that have been promoted to families because of the wide range. The Ranidae family refers to any typical-looking frogs and their largest genus, Rana, is the only one present in America.

Toad vs Frog: Physical Appearance

Now that we’ve gotten their Animalia order in check, what should we do when faced with a frog and want to decide if it’s a toad?

Frog legs are longer than toad legs.

If you ever come across a frog, check whether it’s hopping or leaping. This shows whether you are witnessing a frog or a toad. Compared to toads, frog legs are longer. Frog feet are webbed compared to the toad’s short hind legs. This makes toads slower than frogs.

European green tree frog
Image from Adobe Stock

Frog eyes are more protruding, while toad eyes are smaller.

Frogs live near bodies of water, and where there’s a perfect mix of land and water, there’s bound to be many predators. Frogs have bulging eyes to make sure they can have a clear and wide view of everything surrounding them, making them more alert to predators. Toad eyes are smaller.

Frog skin is smoother compared to toad skin.

Thanks to its moisture, frog skin is smooth and constantly looks drenched. Toads, on the other hand, have lumps on their back, commonly mistaken for warts. In fact, frog skin looks even wetter out of the water than in it.

common toad
Image from Adobe Stock

The biggest frog in the world is larger than the biggest toad in the world.

The Goliath frog can reach up to 12 inches, while the Cane Toad reaches up to 9 inches. This is considerable information, seeing as frogs can appear as minuscule as possible. Some Goliath Frogs can become as big as house cats, while the Cane Toad prefers places with as little human interaction as possible.

Some frogs, like the Gliding Leaf Frog, can even jump from tree to tree.

While toads are often still and statuesque, many frogs are active. A perfect example of this is the Gliding Leaf Frog, which jumps through the trees and sleeps in them. Their ability to glide through the rainforests of their home is thanks to their webbed feet.

Toad vs Frog: Behavior

While we can’t completely say all frogs and toads have the same personality, there is actually a major difference between them. In fact, not only do toads and frogs contrast in physical appearance, but they also thrive in different environments, which can affect their behavior. Frogs prefer to hide from the public eye. While in contrast, the toads remain nonchalant in front of human presence.

Frog and toad eggs are organized differently.

If you see a cluster of eggs squished together, it’s most likely frog eggs. Toads, meanwhile, prefer to keep theirs in a straight line. In addition, both frogs and toads always stay near water, since they need it to absorb their eggs for hatching.

frog eggs on water surface
Image from Adobe Stock

Toads prefer grasslands.

One can commonly spot toads around wide and open spaces, compared to frogs that prefer places with large bodies of water. This is because, unlike toads, frogs can dry up easily. Living near the water is also the reason why frogs always look so moist. On the other hand, toads cope better with drier areas. A frog’s constant need to be in the water, while also being able to live on land, makes it an amphibian.

Some toads tend to live longer than frogs.

Thanks to scientists, we are now aware that the average lifespan of frogs lasts about 5 to 10 years. This begs the question, how long do toads live? Since they’re genetically the same, it’s also around that average. The exception lies with the Cane toad, however, whose minimum lifespan average is about 10 years.

Frogs move faster than toads due to their body differences.

Toads are more predatory in a sense that they wait for their prey to come close to them. They’re slower than frogs that leap out of nowhere constantly, and also due to the fact that they have short legs and a stubby nature.

Toad vs Frog: Cultural Values

It’s in our nature to find meaning in many things, and animals are no exception to our search for symbols and clues in the circle of life. Frogs have had major influences in history and even more so in the way we perceive things.

Toads bring forth rain and frogs bring down change.

In Mexico and Africa, a toad is a rare find and once one is spotted, the people celebrate it as a symbol of rain. They are also famous in China, thanks to Liu Haichan, a mystic and counselor to the emperor, who was often depicted to have a toad on his shoulder.

As for frogs, they are animal totems that symbolize transformations, pushing us to altercations that will benefit us despite the difficulty.

The Black Toad is a book written regarding witchcraft.

It’s important to note that toads were once considered evil and demonic. Thanks to their notoriety in the middle ages, they were often rumored to be familiars of witches. A woman named Gemma Gary even compiled the traditional England witchcraft practices and entitled the book “The Black Toad” as the symbolism of their importance in dark magic.

Ancient Egyptians believed in Heqet, while the Chinese believed in Yin.

Back in the time of Ancient Egypt, they depicted their gods to be half-human, half-animal hybrids, and the frog is no exception to this. Images of frogs were considered an honor of the goddess Heqet, who was worshipped for fertility. This makes sense, seeing as signs of frogs usually mean that the environment is healthy.

As for toads, they are regarded well in China. They are considered as “Yin”, and as animals that bring forth rain. They are also medicinally researched.

Heqet accompanied by Khnum
Source Wikimedia Commons

Toad vs Frog: Folktales

Toads don’t actually give you warts.

A lot of our childhood was spent wondering, do toads give you warts? The answer is, no frog or toad could ever give you warts. The origin of this long-standing rumor could be because of the toad’s lumpy and harmless backs that give off a warty-looking texture.

Some frogs can actually survive after you freeze them.

This is thanks to high amounts of glucose, which prevents them from freezing. While there are some parts that do freeze, their vital organs and bloodstream don’t. This allows the possibility that if a frozen frog thaws out, it might actually come back to life. An example of these types of frogs is the wood frog.

Both toads and frogs can induce hallucinations.

Toads and frogs have had neurotoxins that can disable your nervous system. While there are only some of them like this, it’s important to note that the toxins produced by such frogs must be taken seriously with a risk to your heart, mobility, and thought processing. An example of this is the Colorado River Toad, which secretes 5-MeO-DMT.

Toad vs Frog: Delicacies

Cane Toad legs are also now a delicacy.

A chef named Emma Lupin found ways on how to eat the poisonous Cane Toad and kill it humanely. She says that in order to make sure that the Cane Toads don’t eat each other, one must make sure they remain calm before keeping them in an airtight bag. This is essential in order to make sure that the poison doesn’t affect the person eating the dish. Finally, she marinates and sautees the legs before presenting them.

Frog legs are a delicacy and healthy to eat.

It’s actually a famous and traditional dish in France. Many nationalities consume frog legs. They taste like your average chicken legs, which also have health benefits. Frog legs are filled with omega-3, potassium, protein, and vitamins that can protect the average human body. The different ways of cooking frog legs depend on the country.

Baked frog legs in french style
Image from Adobe Stock


You can’t really say whether a toad or a frog is better. In fact, there are many cases in which you can’t even tell the two apart. While the Anura Kingdom and its residents already have a vast collection of diverse animals, the search for more toads and frogs remains active. There’s definitely more to frogs than we thought, and even more so with toads. Cheers to the future, in which soon we’ll find more interesting discoveries regarding our beloved amphibians and that one day, regardless of whether you’re a frog fan or a toad follower, you’ll learn more about these fascinating creatures.