How to tell the difference between a frog and a toad
Many people get confused between frogs and toads, so here are a few key differences:
- Toads have dry warty skin and shorter legs than frogs
- Toads crawl and frogs move in short jumps
- Frogs have a more angular head and shape compared to toads
- Only frogs have a dark patch behind their eye
- Frogs lay their spawn in a clump, whilst toads lay a long string of spawn
Frogs are amphibians, which means they spend part of their life in water and part on land. They have the ability to breathe through their skin, as well as using their lungs.
Whether you see frogs and toads as fascinating amphibians or slimy creatures that you don’t want to touch, they are highly beneficial residents of our gardens and munch their way through many slugs, snails, insects and other garden pests.
They live in a variety of damp habitats ranging from wood piles, stone piles, grassland, woodland and any other suitable hiding place that’s moist.
Threats to British frogs
Although frogs are found all over the UK, the southern population is declining at a rapid rate as a result of changes in farming methods, the loss of habitats such as grassland and water-filled ditches, pollution which is easily absorbed into amphibians’ skin, poisoning by insecticides and other issues. Many populations are now highly dependent on gardens for refuge and garden ponds for breeding. Although they still suffer as a result of thoughtless gardening practice. In Scotland, the decline is slower, although still an issue.
How to help frogs in your garden
If you have a garden you can help frogs in the following ways:
- Install a wildlife pond with a minimum depth of 2ft to prevent it freezing in winter and with sloping sides so that young frogs can get in and out easily.
- Use hot water to melt ice on ponds in very cold weather to prevent hibernating frogs from suffocating.
- Create wood piles, stone piles and rough areas of long grass near ponds where frogs and toads can hide as well as find food.
- Avoid keeping tadpoles in small containers which can kill them – watch them in the pond instead, where they will be much safer and you can enjoy their development.
- Never move frogs from one area to another – this can spread disease.