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Toad vs Frog – What is the Difference?

Frogs and toads – are they the same thing or are they different species? Well, one is a land-dwelling creature while the other prefers water. They may look similar at first glance but I assure you they’re quite different.

They’re both amphibians, true, but they behave differently. They also look differently. One key difference between them is the skin. Toads have warty and bumpy skin, while frogs are smooth and sleek. Their skin is silky like a jade, while toads are rather gross.

One other difference between frogs and toads is their feet. Frogs have longer feet that they use for hopping, while toads prefer walking and crawling. Their feet are shorter, proportional to their bodies.

Toads are also less slim-looking, with a squatting posture, while frogs are more athletic. Funny thing is that toads and frogs have no neck, so they can’t turn their heads sideways as we do. Instead, they use their big eyes to see in all directions.

Basically, one is a healthy-looking specimen with a slim and athletic body, while the other is an ugly, unfit, and warty individual that you’d rather not touch. But that’s not all. The differences don’t stop here, so keep reading for more!

Natural Habitat

Did you ever see a frog on the sidewalk? Good, because that wasn’t a frog but a toad. Frogs rarely stray too far from their pond. Outside the matin season, they wander around a 500m perimeter around their pond.

Toads, on the other hand, are much more resilient to dry and hot environments. They wander all over the place, making home from almost anything. They’re land-dwelling amphibians who do well without prolonged exposure to water.

Both frogs and toads live all over the world, except the frozen wastelands of Antarctica. Both of them are slimy to the touch because they can breathe through their skin. The mucus on their skin maintains their body moist and damp, ensuring sufficient humidity in warm environments. The mucus also protects the skin from scratches and other damaging events.

Frogs need constant access to freshwater, so you’ll find them living in swamps or aquatic environments. There are some outliers out there, such as the Australian water-holding frog that lives in the desert and burrows into the ground to retain its humidity levels.

The Gran Chaco frog that lives in South America can also live in arid environments thanks to the waxy substance it produces, which prevents water from evaporating as fast.

Food & Diet

The vast majority of frogs and toads eat insects and other ground-dwelling beings. They’ll eat spiders, worms, slugs, mice, birds, and even other reptiles. If they can fit the prey into their mouths, toads and frogs will eat anything that moves.

So, theoretically, an elephant-sized frog can prey on lions, tigers, and even bears with extreme ease. If you keep them in captivity, frogs and toads will eat crickets, fruit flies, worms, and mice.

Enclosure Setup

Frogs and toads are fine with a terrarium as their first and last enclosure. If you maintain a steady temperature, lighting, and humidity, both toads and frogs will be happy. I recommend a 10-gallon terrarium per individual frog.

So, two frogs would require 20 gallons’ worth of space. Though, the size of the enclosure depends on the size of the frog/toad, as well. It’s also important to buy something with a bit of height, so you can place some vegetation there. Frogs also like jumping a lot, so you see the problem.

If you’re housing a frog, make sure to increase the humidity level by a few notches. While toads are fine with less humidity, frogs can’t survive arid environments. We’ll discuss this a bit more in the following paragraphs. Both temperature and lighting are also important if you want your frog/toad to be healthy.

– Lighting

Neither frogs nor toads need sunlight specifically. They’re not like tortoises and turtles that extract vital vitamin D3 from sunlight. These amphibians can do well enough with artificial light. But make sure you simulate a regular 12-hour day cycle using artificial light.

During the night, turn off the lights or make them really dim to simulate external moonlight. It’s no problem for toads and frogs to see in the dark. After all, they are nocturnal predators that hunt for prey when it’s dark.

– Humidity

This is where the differences become stark. Toads don’t need as much humidity as frogs. They can do well enough in arid environments. In fact, toads wander all around the place, and you’ll often see them in dry and hot environments, enjoying the sun.

Their organism needs less water. However, frogs are quite the opposite. These amphibians are water-dwelling creatures that need a lot of humidity.

That’s why I recommend setting the humidity level in your terrarium at 75-100% both during night and day. This is where the substrate comes into play. Spray the substrate with water daily to ensure proper humidity, and place a hygrometer in the enclosure.

You’ll want to check the humidity all the time. Frogs need vegetation and shade, as well. They like to cool off from the sun and retain their humidity intact.

– Temperature

Toads can resist temperatures of over 85 degrees Fahrenheit but frogs can’t. I wouldn’t recommend housing frogs and toads together, in the same terrarium. They have different needs. Though, maintaining a temperature level of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit should benefit both frogs and toads.

At night, lower the temperature a bit, until you get to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but never any lower. A thermometer will show you the temperature in the enclosure, so make sure to get one.

– Substrate

Both frogs and toads prefer the same kind of substrate – moist, damp, and easy to burrow inside. Coconut husk fiber, pot soil, moist paper towels, peat moss, or sphagnum moss are great materials for the substrate.

Though, regardless of the substrate, you’ll still have to water it daily. Use a misting tool to let the substrate soak up some water and maintain a constant humidity level. This will help the frog and/or toad self-regulate its humidity and temperature levels.

Breeding

Breeding is generally the same with toads as it is with frogs. Both females will lay their eggs in shallow water, where they will hatch and release the tadpoles. In about 9-10 days, they’ll be ready to start swimming in the water.

When the mating season begins, both toads and frogs start croaking their lungs out, hoping to get a female’s attention. Both frog and toad females are bigger than their male counterparts, for biological reasons.

When a female decides to mate, males will crowd all around it. Then, the female moves to a good spot where she can lay her eggs. Both toads and frogs will fertilize the eggs externally after the female lays them in shallow water.

There’s no distinct difference between the two. Only that some toad species will lay their eggs on land, unlike frogs that will always lay their eggs in shallow water.

Conclusion

Toads and frogs may not look too different for a regular person but there are differences you can spot. One of the most glaring differences is the difference in appearance and skin texture. Toads are rougher and coarse, with warty and bumpy skin, while frogs are smooth and slick.

They’re quite shiny, come to think of it. In any case, both make for great pets and live for 10 years at most. If you provide healthy living conditions, they’ll be your best friends for the time being!

Frogs - Updated: July 22, 2021
avatar I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets.

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