Frogs and toads are amphibians – creatures that live both on land and in the water.
There are about 3,500 species of frog and toad. Most live near water, but some live in trees and others live underground.
Frogs are mostly smaller and better jumpers. Toads are bigger, with thicker, wartier skin which holds on to moisture and allows them to live on land longer.
Frogs and toads are meat-eaters. They catch fast moving insects by darting out their long, sticky tongues.
Frogs and toads begin life as fish-like tadpoles, hatching in the water from huge clutches of eggs called spawn.
After 7 to 10 weeks, tadpoles grow legs and lungs and develop frogs ready to leave the water.
In midwife toads, the male looks after the eggs, not the female – winding strings of eggs around his back legs and carrying them about until they hatch.
The male Darwin’s frog swallows the eggs and keeps them in his throat until they hatch – and pop out of his mouth.
The goliath frog of West Africa is the largest frog – at over 25 cm long. The biggest toad is the cane toad of Queensland, Australia – one weighed 2.6 kg and measured 50 cm in length with its legs outstretched. The cane toad was introduced to Australia from South America to help control pests.
The arrow-poison frogs that live in the tropical rainforests of Central America get their name because natives tip their arrows with deadly poison from glands in the frogs’ skin. Many arrow-poison frogs are very colorful.
The natterjack toad is easily recognized by a distinctive yellow line down its head and back. It gives off a smell of burning rubber when alarmed.