Difference between Frogs and Toads

Updated on October 31, 2016

It can be a bit tricky to tell these widely diverse amphibians apart without having to take a closer look. If you are the type who would rather run at the sight of a frog or a toad but want to know more, read on below.


An orange-eyed frog photo

Frogs are from a large and diverse group of amphibious animals. They can survive in both land and fresh water habitats. Some species have adapted to living in trees or underground. Frogs cannot survive in salt water. They can be found from the tropical regions to the subarctic regions. The widest collection of frog species is in the tropical rainforests. There are an estimated 4,800 recorded species, 85 percent of which are still in existence. Frogs are also one the most diverse orders among vertebrates.

A stout body, cleft tongue, big, protruding eyes usually characterize a mature frog. A frog’s limbs fold to the undersides. Its skin is normally moist due to glands that secrete fluids that may be foul-tasting or even poisonous. There are frog species that use their skin as camouflage while there are some that sport bright colors to warn predators about their toxic skin.

Frogs are known for their exceptional jumping ability and are the best jumpers among all vertebrates (in relation to body size). The aptly named striped rocket frog can jump distances of over 6 feet or more than 2 meters – that’s 50 times its body size!

A common toad taking on a defensive stance

Toads, or true toads, are frogs which belong to the Bufonidae family. There are no definitive scientific classifications that can help tell the two apart. However, popular culture identifies toads as having dry, leather-like skin and short legs. While these characteristics are generally true, there are some frog species that share the same characteristics.

They also have bumps on their skin that look like warts and are not in any way connected to infectious warts. The largest of these bumps cover the toad’s parotid glands, which secrete toxic fluids used to ward off predators. Certain frogs also have a similar kind of defense mechanism as well.

Frogs vs Toads

So what’s the difference between a frog and toad? While there are no established scientific guidelines between the differences of these two amphibians, frogs belong to the order Anura. Toads fall under the same order, but are members of the Bufonidae family. However, frogs and toads usually have some physical differences that can help distinguish one from the other.

Frogs usually have long hind legs that make them excellent jumpers. Toads, on the other hand, have smaller legs used for crawling rather than jumping. Frogs have moist, smooth skin that can secrete foul-tasting and even toxic fluid, while a toad’s skin is usually dry, lumpy, and leathery. It’s also common for frogs to stay near a body of water to survive, whereas toads can afford to be far away from any water source.

Comparison Chart

Have long and powerful legs for leaping.Have short legs for crawling.
Smooth, moist skin.Leathery, lumpy, and dry skin.
Always need to be near water.Can wander off from water.


Here’s a great video that talks about the difference between these two amphibians.