Frogs and Toads are two very similar-looking land and water animals but actually are very different. Frogs are the more common ones among the two. And the frog species is so common that sometimes common people label any toad as frog too. Frogs are, as we all know amphibians, and they are the largest in number among them. Both of them are found in vast parts of the world. But actually, are the differences between the two? Read on to find out more about the difference between frogs vs toads and some more cool facts about both of them.
Frogs vs Toads
1. Physical Characteristics
Frogs, we all know what the general body structure is. Perhaps some of us have also done a little surgery on the poor animal in our school life. Toads also have an almost similar body structure except for some key differences. For example, the most visible and distinctive feature to help identify a frog and toad apart is the skin texture. Frogs always look sleek and slimy, like they just come out of water.
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Toads, however, have rough skin. They also have little wart-like bumps covering their entire bodies. Some frogs are brightly colored and very poisonous. Such species are found mainly in tropical regions, especially the rainforests of the Amazon. The color as opposed to hiding the animal in the environment is evolved to make it stand out. It acts as a warning sign for predators around that this little guy is not to be messed with.
Toads have generally dry skin. It is noteworthy that, unlike frogs, all toads are poisonous. They have a gland on the back of their heads that produces a poison strong enough to kill small animals. Although it is not potent enough to kill humans, it may arouse an allergic reaction in some people. The smallest among the toad family reaches a bare 1.3 inches. While the big ones like the Rhinella marina can even reach up to 9 inches (about 23 cm). It is found in South America where it is native but has also been introduced to North Australia now. Surely you would want to stay clear of this bad guy.
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We all know that frogs have long tongues that they whip out to catch flies and insects. But did you know that frogs do not have teeth? Others however have no tongue or teeth and eat food with their hands like monkeys, well sort of. Frogs generally are carnivores, dining on small insects and worms but some omnivore species also exist. However, in the early phase of their lives, i.e., as tadpoles, they are omnivores and feed on all sorts of organic matter and plankton. The food that frogs consume also contributes to the poison produced in some species and thus requires certain specific insects in their diet.
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Toads also follow a similar diet. Apart from insects and small mammals, toads are also known to feed on other amphibians.
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3. Behavioural traits
Frogs and toads have a variety of different behavioral traits which help them survive or in mating, varying across species. Torpor is an amazing trait of frogs and toads. It is the process of going into a semi-conscious state when the conditions are not favorable. Hibernation is also a torpor that happens in the winter. It is one of the important differences between frogs vs toads.
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Other species survive by sinking to the bottom of ponds and the ones in the arctic-like the wood frog can survive being frozen for a long time. Toads also have a tendency to walk rather than jump because they do not have so well developed hind legs as frogs. So, if you spot one of them walking, it is probably a toad. Another difference is the way both of them lay eggs. While frogs lay eggs in a sort of gooey lump, toads lay eggs strung in a line.
4. Distribution and habitat
Frogs are found all over the world on all continents except… you guessed it Antarctica. But they are also absent on some remote islands of the world. Frogs, although present in cold countries like Canada and Norway, do not have a large population or diversity of species. The tropical regions are especially rich in diversity and population. In fact, the family bufonidae to which both frogs and toads belong originated in the continent of South America, although at that time the world geography was very different from that of today and the population could spread to other places because of existing land paths.
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Both frogs and toads live near water or moisture. Ponds, swamps, lakes, banks of streams, and rivers are typical habitats of these animals. Toads, having a higher tolerance to dryness, can also wander much farther from water than frogs.
Did you know that frogs are also found in deserts? Certain frogs in Australia like the cyclorama create watertight cocoons around them and go into a deep slumber, just like hibernation except it takes place during the dry summer season.
Being a diverse species, frogs can also climb trees or survive the ice-cold Arctic circle.
Image Source: Wikimedia
5. Threats and status
You may not guess it, but frogs are very sensitive to environmental changes and generally do not thrive when ecological damage is happening around them. Thus, the frog population of a place is an indicator of the health of the environment. Currently, many frog species face critical threats, with many species categorized as endangered or vulnerable. Since they need water at least in one phase of their lives, frog populations are badly affected by water pollution. Wetlands and swamps are one of the most important habitats of amphibians, but they too are being drained on a large scale to make way for agriculture and housing land.
But frogs are also used in many cuisines in many countries like France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the even US. In fact, these countries are the top importers of frog meat in the world. Earlier they used to kill wild frogs that were caught. As a result, the population has declined steeply and many species are now on the brink of extinction in Europe. But now due to expanding demand frogs are being reared and farmed in countries like Indonesia and China.
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These are the facts you need to about frogs vs toads in the world. Kindly share and do post your comments.