Are frogs and toads the same?

I was wandering down by the edge of the water with my son. We were skipping rocks and having a great time. Then he asked me one of those questions that I had never really thought about… “Are frogs and toads the same thing?”

Now I knew that they weren’t the same thing. I have seen plenty of frogs and toads in the wild and in exhibits at aquariums, like the amazing poison dart frogs at the National Aquarium of Baltimore. But I had to confess that I did not know exactly what made frogs different from toads.

Here’s what I found out:

Toads:
Do not need to live near water to survive
Have rough, dry, bumpy skin
Have a wider body
Have lower, football-shaped eyes
Have shorter, less powerful hind legs
Will run or take small hops rather than jump
Do not have many predators. (Lucky for them, they taste bad. A toad’s skin lets out a bitter taste and smell that burns the eyes and nostrils of its predators.)

Frogs:
Need to live near water
Have smooth, moist skin that makes them look “slimy”.
Have a narrow body
Have higher, rounder, bulgier eyes
Have longer hind legs
Take long high jumps
Have many predators (Sad for them, they taste good.)

Frogs and toads are very important to ecosystems. With frogs generally spending part of their lifecycle in water, and their moist skins are especially sensitive to pollution. We can all help to reduce the impact of pollution on frogs by preventing chemicals such as petrol, insecticides, detergents, and fertilizers from entering our waterways.

Fog on the water at Walnut Creek Park, Charlottesville, VA

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