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What's The Difference Between a Frog and a Toad?

toad-or-frog
Is this a frog or a toad? (Hint: It's a Costa Rican <i>Agalychnis callydrias</i>.) (Image credit: <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-348535p1.html">Dirk Ercken</a> | <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/">Shutterstock</a>)

You can tell most toads and frogs apart by the appearance of their skin and legs. Both amphibians make up the order Anura in the animal kingdom, but there are some key differences.

Most frogs have long legs and smooth skins covered in mucus. Toads generally have shorter legs and rougher, thicker skins.

And while toads generally lay their eggs in long strands, frogs lay their eggs in a cluster that resembles a bunch of grapes.

Not all frogs and toads are easy to distinguish, however, leading biologists to squabble over the definition.

There are some frogs that have skin covered in warts, and toads that have smooth, slimy skin, according to the Exploratorium, a San Francisco science museum, in their online exhibit about frogs and toads. And many species will fit equally well into either category.

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Elizabeth Howell
Elizabeth Howell is a regular contributor to Live Science and Space.com, along with several other science publications. She is one of a handful of Canadian reporters who specializes in space reporting. Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Journalism, Science Concentration at Carleton University (Canada) and an M.Sc. Space Studies (distance) at the University of North Dakota. Elizabeth became a full-time freelancer after earning her M.Sc. in 2012. She reported on three space shuttle launches in person and once spent two weeks in an isolated Utah facility pretending to be a Martian.