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Frog & toad facts for kids

Updated October 11, 2017

Frogs and toads are both amphibians, which are animals that spend part of their lives in water and part on land. Frogs and toads are found all over the world, except in extremely cold and dry climates such as those of Antarctica, the Arctic and Greenland. According to the San Diego Zoo, scientists know of approximately 4,000 different species of frogs and toads.

Identification

It is often possible to tell frogs and toads apart by looking at their physical characteristics. In general, frogs have smooth, moist skin, while a toad's skin tends to be dry and covered in bumps that resemble warts. Frogs have longer legs that allow them to leap, while toads have limited hopping abilities because of their short legs; toads usually make their way around by crawling. Though they lack necks, all frogs and toads have protruding eyes that allow them to see in all directions without moving their heads.

Diet

Frog and toads are carnivores, which means they eat other animals. With their long, sticky tongues, frogs and toads trap a variety of insects, spiders, slugs and worms, and draw them into their wide mouths. Some of the larger species also eat small rodents, such as mice, and even other amphibians. Frogs and toads do not have teeth; therefore they must swallow their prey whole. Rather than drinking water with their mouths, many frogs absorb it through their skin.

Habitat

Frogs and toads are found in virtually all types of habitats, from tropical to arid. Though there are exceptions, frogs tend to live in near water and in moist environments, while toads are generally found in drier regions, including some deserts.

Reproduction and Development

Like most amphibians, frogs and toads begin their lives underwater. Adult females lay their eggs in water, which hatch anywhere between 14 and 23 days later. In some species, the male parent transports and cares for the eggs. The babies, known as tadpoles, have long tails and breathe through gills the way fish do. Depending on the species, it can take a tadpole anywhere from two months to a year to become an adult. In the process, known as metamorphosis, the tadpoles lose their tail and gills and develop legs and lungs that allow them to live on land.

Warning

You won't get warts from touching a toad, but some species of frogs found in the rainforests of Central and South America are poisonous and therefore very dangerous. An adult human can die by just holding a poisonous frog, which can usually be identified by its bright colours.

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About the Author

Since beginning her career as a professional journalist in 2007, Nathalie Alonso has covered a myriad of topics, including arts, culture and travel, for newspapers and magazines in New York City. She holds a B.A. in American Studies from Columbia University and lives in Queens with her two cats.