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Free images of Toads

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Whatís the difference between a frog and a toad?

Both frogs and toads have many similarities, which includes the way they look.  Both are amphibians and belong to a class of vertebrate animals.  Frogs belong to the Ranidae family, while toads belong to the Bufonidae.  

Typically, frogs have smooth, wet skin, a narrow body and long legs.  They enjoy moist environments.  Toads, however, have dry, warty or bumpy skin, a short body and stocky legs. They like dry conditions.  While frogs have small teeth on their upper and lower jaws, toads donít have any teeth at all!  Frogs also have longer hind legs than toads causing frogs to leap while toads hop.  Finally, frogs lay their eggs in clumps on the water surface, while toads lay them in long, parallel strings.

Both frogs and toads may use poison as a defense.  Frogs can secrete this through their skin, while toads can hold poison in sacs behind their eyes.

The eyes can also help identify the species -  While a frogís eyes may bulge out from its head, a toadís eyes are inset and do not protrude.



brown bumpy toad in leaves Eastern American

Toad - 1  (Eastern American Toad)

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

Large - 4608 x 3456  -  Still free, but now only available by email request.


What type of toad is this? 

In the province of Ontario, where this image was taken, there are only two types of toads:  The American toad (Bufo americanus americanus) and the Fowler's Toad (Bufo fowleri).  


Fowlers vs American Toad?

The American toad is well-known for hybridizing.  It commonly breeds with Bufo woodhousii, Bufo fowleri, and Bufo terrestris.  This hybridizing makes species identification often times difficult.  The most difficult species identification arises between distinguishing between an American Toad and a Fowler's Toad.  Here are some characteristics to look for:


(Eastern) American Toad

- large, squat toad with warty brown, reddish or olive skin and variously coloured spots
- light stripe down middle of back

- Tolerates cold temperatures
- Has an early breeding season (March)
- Long paratoid glands do NOT touch carnial rediges behind the eye
- Prefers to live in the forest - in habit ponds only during breeding season
- Tends to have a spotted belly
- 1-2 wars per large black spot on back
- sounds like a monotone 30-second trill
- is widespread throughout eastern half of Canada from central Manitoba & southern James Bay all the way to the coast.
- adults can reach up to 11 cm

Fowler's Toad

- large yellow, green or brown

- light stripe down middle of back
- large dark blotches
- Is limited by cold temperatures
- Breeds much later in season (May)
- Elongate paratoid glands touch cranial crests

- Prefers open, sandy habitats

- Limited spotting on belly
- 3 or more warts per black spot on back
- sounds like the  "waa" cry of a baby
- limited in Canada to small number of locations along north shore of Lake Erie.  Also found in eastern United States.
- adults can reach up to 6 cm


A Fowler's toad looks very similar to an American toad although slightly smaller.   This is not much help unless you have two toads the same age side by side!  Fowler's toads have three or more warts within each dark post on their backs.  They do NOT have greatly enlarged warts on the tibia.  

In order to distinguish between the two, one should first look for the peratoid glands - those big kidney shaped warts on the toad's shoulders.  Next look behind the eyes where you will spot two ridges in an "L" shape - these are the cranial ridges or crests.  If the cranial ridges are touching the peratoid glands, it is likely an American Toad.

Because of the separation between the peratoid glands and the cranial ridges, and the southern Ontario location this specimen was found, I have identified this toad as an American Toad.



head of brown toad Eastern American

Toad - 2  (Eastern American Toad)

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Fun Facts


- Amphibians are divided into three groups:  Newts & Salamanders; Frogs & Toads; and Caecilians.



- Caecilians are amphibians that don't have arms or legs.  They look like snakes or worms.

- There are 5,000 - 6,000 amphibians species known today.



- The term "amphibian" means "two-lives" - one in the water and one on land.





- More than 75% of all toad and frog species in the world live in tropical rainforests.



- Toads have dry, bumpy skin while frogs have smooth, clammy skin.



- The life cycle of an amphibians involves three stages:  egg, larva and adult.




- Frogs breath with their lungs AND through their skin.


- Frogs can see forwards, sideways and upwards - all at the same time!



- According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), nearly one-third of all amphibians are known to be threatened or extinct!





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