A toad or a frog in my garden?

Having seen a Common Toad moving around in the garden, shared recently on YouTube, I wanted to know more about these interesting creatures. I only roughly knew the difference between toads and frogs...

5 Toad did-you-knows? 

  • Toads are actually a type of frog. Distinguished by dry, warty-looking skin, they secretes an irritant to defend against predators. (See below for what to do if your pet licks a toad).
  • In the UK there are two species of toad and two species of frog. Most of us will only see the Common Toad and Common Frog.
  • There are 7,000 living species of frog and toad across the world, inhabiting every continent but Antarctica.
  • The oldest known frog. In 2018, fossils in amber from Myanmar revealed a tiny tropical frog that had shared the earth with dinosaurs 99 million years ago.
  • The 'baddest' frog is the Armoured Devil Frog (Beelzebufo ampinga). The Devil Frog grew to 19 cm in length had spike from its head and armour down it's back. They lived on the island of Madagascar about 65 to 70 million years ago. 

Is there a difference between frogs and toads?

Yes. The toad's skin will look dry and warty, whereas the frog has a smoother moist skin. Also, look at the back legs. Frogs have longer hind legs compared to the front legs.

Toad safety information 

When handled the Common Toad's defence is to secrete a foul tasting irritant that puts off most predators.

Will a toad poison me if I pick it up?

First of all, don't handle them unless strictly necessary, e.g. if it is in danger where it is. Otherwise leave them be.

If you do have to handle a toad, it is important to wash your hands thoroughly.
You shouldn't be affected by the toxin on your skin unless you ingest the toxin or it gets into an open cut, (it can cause an infection) but there are always exceptions.

What happens if my dog/cat licks a toad?

If your dog or cat licks a toad, you could find your pet hyper-salivating, (extreme dribbling or foaming at the mouth). The PDSA advise to rinse the affected area with plenty of water and phone your vet for advice.

YouTube link

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