Today’s curious question doesn’t have an easy answer. Although many people believe that frogs and toads are completely different creatures, the truth is a bit more complicated.

Scientists classify animals and plants based on various characteristics. Frogs and toads are both members of the same class — Amphibia — which means that they’re both amphibians.

Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates that spend the early part of their lives in water (breathing with gills) and the rest of their lives on land (breathing with lungs).

Moreover, frogs and toads are also both members of the same order — Anura — which means that they’re closely related and share many similar characteristics.

There are hundreds of individual species of frogs and toads within the Anura order. However, the many species within the Anura order can appear quite different, leading people to believe that toads and frogs aren’t the same.

The popular distinction drawn between frogs and toads is probably best viewed as a distinction between true “frogs” (members of the Ranidae family) and true “toads” (members of the Bufonidae family). The Ranidae family contains more than 400 species of frogs, while the Bufonidae family contains more than 300 species of toads.

Frogs can look and act quite differently from toads. Here are some of the differences you may notice:


  • Need to live near water to survive.
  • Have smooth, moist skin that may look or seem slimy.
  • Have a narrow body with round eyes that bulge.
  • Have long hind legs that help them take long, high jumps.
  • Have many predators.


  • Don’t need to live near water to survive.
  • Have rough, dry, bumpy skin.
  • Have a wide body with oval eyes that don’t bulge as much as frogs’ eyes.
  • Have short hind legs that allow them to take small hops rather than jumps.
  • Don’t have many predators because their skin has a bitter taste and smell that deters predators.

Before you become too confident in your ability to distinguish frogs from toads, though, remember that these differences don’t hold true across all species.

In fact, certain species can fit into both categories. For example, it’s possible to find a frog with bumpy skin or even a slimy toad!

Near the equator, frogs and toads can look quite similar. Sometimes, the only way to tell them apart is to look inside them at things like their teeth and bones. Good luck catching them, though!

If you do happen to catch a frog or a toad to get a closer look, don’t worry about getting warts on your hands. Neither frogs nor toads will give you warts.

That’s just a myth that probably came about because of the bumpy skin common to many toads. A toad’s bumps aren’t really warts. They’re a special adaptation that helps it blend into its environment.


12 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (24 votes, avg. 4.21 out of 5)
  1. I learned at school a couple years ago that Frogs and Toads lay their eggs different. I cant remember which is which but one lays their eggs in a line and one lays their eggs in a clump.

    • That’s a pretty interesting fact, Kailee! Thanks for sharing it with all of your Wonder Friends today! :-)

    • GREAT Wonder, Maddy! WOHOO! That’s a tough question to answer, because frogs and toads aren’t always large or small! However, here are some helpful hints from this Wonder:

      Frogs: Have a narrow body with round eyes that bulge.
      Toads: Have a wide body with oval eyes that don’t bulge as much as frogs’ eyes.

      We Wonder if you can find any other similarities and differences between these two amphibians! :)

    • Nice work, Izzy, we are so glad you have been comparing and contrasting frogs and toads today! HOORAY for WONDERing! :)

  2. I like this, but I need more info. Thanks for the info you gave me, though. I did a whole 3 page project with just this info. THANK YOU!

    • WONDERful, Sidney! We are happy that we were able to help you with your project. Be sure to check with other sources, though. Thanks for WONDERing with us! :-)

  3. The most recent common ancestor of all frogs and toads lived in the Triassic period, at the same time as dinosaurs started to evolved, and everything that evolved from this is in the frog family (called the Anura clade by biologists). So if we’re talking about which species are related to which species, all the species we call toads are actually in the frog family.

    But there’s a bit of a language problem with English, because usually in biology we group species together by which other species they are closely related to. For example, Tigers, Cheetahs and Lynxes are all in the cat family (clade Felidae) because they are all more closely related to each other than any one of them is related to any species outside of the cat family.
    But we started calling things toads and frogs before we realised which species were related to which species, so there’s no clean split between toads and frogs. Sometimes we find that two species we call ‘toad’ are actually not very closely related at all within the frog family.

    So if we look at evolution, all toads are frogs, and there isn’t a well-defined ‘toad family’.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


  • Wonderopolis on Facebook
  • Wonderopolis on Pinterest
  • Print

Have you ever wondered…

  • Are frogs and toads the same?
  • How can you tell the difference between a true “frog” and a true “toad”?
  • Can you really get warts from touching a frog or toad?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

To get a better idea of how different frogs and toads can look — and sound — visit Frogs and Toads in Color and Sound to see a dozen different kinds of frogs and toads and listen to their unique calls!

When you’re finished exploring the world of frog and toad calls, grab some crayons and paper, and draw your own unique frog or toad. To help you get started, follow these easy directions for how to draw a frog. Be sure to hang your artwork on the refrigerator for all to see!


Still Wondering

Want to do some research of your own about frogs and toads? Use ReadWriteThink’s Animal Inquiry student interactive as a tool to enhance student inquiry in research at the elementary level. The graphic organizer invites students to explore four facets of animals: basic facts, animal babies, interaction with others and habitats.


Wonder Categories/Tags


Wonder What’s Next?

Fore! With a stroke or two of luck, tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day will soar like it has wings.

Upload a Photo or Paste the URL of a YouTube or SchoolTube Video.