Frogs and toads are found in almost all parts of the world. Both of them are amphibians meaning that they can live on land and in water. The word amphibians mean double life, which implies the ability of amphibians to live in the two environments. Amphibians are thought to have evolved from fish during the Devonian era in about 397 million years ago. All toads are considered to be frogs, falling under the order Anura, however, the term frog is generally associated with aquatic species while the term toad is generally associated with terrestrial species.
There are differences between frogs and toads regarding their habitats, and they display different characteristic traits. Frogs live in water to aid in their reproduction, and so they breathe through the buccal cavity and skin when they are in the water and use their nose when they are out of the water. Toads, on the other hand, live mainly on land and so they breathe through the nose.
Both frogs and toads are carnivorous and feed on small fish, insects, spiders, worms, and other small animals. Both animals catch their prey using their long and sticky tongue; however, their feeding habits differ. Frogs have teeth on their upper jaw which they use to lock the prey from escaping, toads on the other hand do not have teeth.
Frogs have slightly narrow bodies compared to toads, though they come in different sizes. The largest known frog ever recorded had a length of 12 inches, and the smallest known is 0.4 inches long. Frogs also have smooth and slimy skin while toads have dry and bumpy skin. When threatened, toads produce toxic milky substance on their backs, which smell and burn the eyes of the predator, a defense mechanism exhibited by skunks, and as such toads have fewer predators. Frogs, on the other hand, do not have these defense mechanisms and therefore have more predators. Frogs have longer hind legs which help them swim and take long jumps while toads have shorter and less powerful legs as they hop on dry places. The eyes of the frogs appear to stick out compared to the toads. Frogs are mostly active during the day while toads mostly sleep during day.
Both animals lay eggs, and whereas frogs lay eggs in water, toads lay them near water bodies. However, there are other subspecies of toads that give birth to young ones. Frogs lay eggs in cluster form while toads lay eggs in chain form. The males would fertilize the laid eggs. Eventually, the eggs hatch to tadpoles and develop legs as they mature.
Declining Numbers of Frogs and Toads
Both the frogs and toads have several subspecies which are estimated to be more than 500 for each family. There has been a general decline of the world population of frogs and toads. Some of the causes include habitat loss, fragmentation, and alteration. Some of the introduced species in new habitats have turned out to be invasive causing a huge decline of the resident frogs and toads. Climate change and pollutants in the habitats have also contributed to the general decline.