What is the difference between a frog and a toad?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Frogs are any of a number of amphibians in the order Anura (tail-less) typically having a short body, large eyes, and webbed toes. Toads are generally differentiated from frogs based on appearance, and it is commonly assumed that toads are a different species. However, all toads are also in the order Anura, so toads are, in fact, frogs, although of slightly different habitation and behavior.

Because they are in the same order, the only real difference is semantic; even "true toads," all of which comprise the family Bufonidae, are under the order Anura. The distinction came about because toads are adapted to live in drier environments than frogs, so they have drier skin, warts to blend in with vegetation, and do not spend as much time in water; toads also tend to be fatter and less mobile than frogs, walking instead of jumping. However, they are simply evolutionary forks of the same species. Many toads also have poison glands in their skin or behind their eyes, to deter predators; in earlier times, this poison was cultivated and harvested for use as either weapons (poison-tipped arrows and spears) or as a mild hallucinogenic for religious rituals.