11 Jan 2016

Frogs or toads? Can you tell the difference? Photo credit: Aleksander Niwelinski


A frog has thin, wet, smooth skin which usually is quite coloured, perhaps even with several different colours. A toad has thick, dry skin which is a little bit bumpy and is usually just brown in colour.


Toad skin – bumpy, brown and dry. Photo credit: Patrick Coin


Frog skin – smooth, coloured and wet. Photo credit: Charles Kinsey


Frogs use their long powerful legs to jump and hop around. Toads actually prefer to walk rather than hop. If they do jump/hop, they only move short distances. As such, they don’t really need long legs like a frog does so their legs are relatively short.


Although toads lay their eggs in water, they are actually largely terrestrial (land) based, spending most of their adult life on land rather than in water. Frogs, on the other hand spend a lot of their time in the water. This is why a frog’s skin is usually wet and a toad’s skin is usually dry.


Have you ever seen frogspawn. They look like little jelly blobs, all clustered together in the water. Toad spawn looks quite similar but the jelly eggs are in a long string, not a clump. Frogs and toads both lay their eggs in water in spring, frogs often use garden ponds, but toads prefer larger ponds and lakes.

Frog spawn. Photo credit: Jonathan Clitheroe

Toad spawn. Photo credit: Mike Kruger

Hopefully with the help of these tips, next time you spy something moving around in your garden, you will be able to identify whether you are looking at a frog or a toad! Encourage frogs and toads to your garden by following these steps >