Toads are a certain type of frog that has leathery skin and large bumps around their parotoid glands. You can tell frogs and toads apart from their legs and the appearance of their skin. Frogs have smooth skin which is covered in mucus and long legs. Toads have tougher, thicker skin than frogs and generally have shorter legs. Frogs lay eggs in a cluster that looks like a lot like grapes, while toads lay their eggs in long strands. The debate over the correct definition of distinction continues to be debated by experts around the world since many frogs have warts while some toads have smooth, slimy skin.
Rhinella marina is also known as Cane toad, marine toad, and neo-tropical toad. They are terrestrial toads that are native to mainland Central America and South America. They have also been introduced to some habitats in Northern Australia, Oceania, and the Caribbean.
The Cane Toad is the world’s largest toad and is a prolific breeder. Female Cane toads can lay thousands of eggs in just a single-clump spawn. Their high rate of reproduction is due to the fact that they are opportunist feeders and can survive on both dead and living matter. The toad had been introduced in many regions due to this diet since it acts as a great pest control mechanism. However, due to its high breeding rates, it can quickly become an invasive species and is considered a pest in many regions.
The adults of this species can grow up to 10–15 cm (3.9–5.9 in) in length and the largest recorded Cane Toad was of 24 cm (9.4 in). They are known for their poisonous glands and their tadpoles are highly toxic when ingested. The toxic skin can kill many animals, especially dogs. These toads are one of the oldest species of animals in the world.
The Bufonidae is also known as the common or European toad. They have been a part of folklore for many years and are often associated with witchcraft. This amphibian is found in almost all of Europe excluding some regions like the Mediterranean islands, Ireland, and Iceland. It is also present in some western regions of Asia and Northwest Africa. It consists of similar animals that have descended from the same line of ancestor toads.
The common toad is an inconspicuous animal and usually hides during the daytime. It becomes active at dusk and spends the night hunting for different invertebrates to feed on. The movement of the toad is kind of slow and clumsy with short jumps. The grayish-brown skin of the toad is covered in lumps that resemble warts.
Usually, these toads are solitary animals but come together in large numbers during the breeding season. The males compete to mate with females in certain breeding ponds. The eggs of the common toad are laid in gelatinous strings which hatch into tadpoles. The tadpoles go through several months of development and growth before they metamorphose into small toads with sprout limbs. Once they go through the metamorphism, these terrestrial juveniles can emerge from the water.
The numbers of the common toad have declined over the ages due to habitat loss and drainage of breeding sites. Some toads also get killed on the road while they are migrating.
Epidalea calamita is also commonly known as the Natterjack Toad. This toad is native to heathlands and sandy areas in Europe. The adults of the Natterjack toad grow up to 60 – 70 mm in length. They have a yellow line that runs down the middle of their back, parallel to their parotoid glands. They have short legs that give them a unique gait. This sets their movement apart from the hopping movement of most other types of toads.
Natterjack toads are known for their distinctive and loud mating call. This sound is amplified by the single vocal sac that is located under the chin of male Natterjacks. This is why their name literally means a toad (jack) that chatters (natters).
The Anaxyrus americanus is also known as the American toad and is commonly found in many habitats all over the Eastern United States and Canada. It has three main subspecies called the eastern American toad, the dwarf American toad, and rare Hudson Bay toad.
The eastern American toad has only one or two warts on its body. They have enlarged warts on their tibia and the toads have little to no markings on its body. The dwarf American toad has an average length of 6 cm (2 1⁄4 in). It has a dark to light red color and the warts are generally darker than the color of the skin. The Hudson Bay toad has a few isolated populations near the northern regions of Ontario. They have red coloring on the sides of their bodies.
European Green Toad
The Bufo viridis is also known as the European green toad. It is a species of toad which is found in mainland Europe. They have many different habitats like urban areas, semi-deserts, mountainous, and steppes. The species has 12 major evolutionary lineages, which have spread through Europe. They have different patterns and variations in color all across these lineages. The spots can vary from green to red and dark brown. The underside of the European green toad is white or has a light color.
The toad changes its color in response to light and heat. Females can lay around 9000-15000 eggs in one spawn and are larger in size than males. The toads can reach a maximum size of about 10 cm (4 inches) but many stay smaller than this. They eat different invertebrates and insects like small butterflies, meal worms, crickets, moths, beetles, caterpillars, and earthworms.
The Bombina variegate is also known as the Yellow-Bellied toad and belongs to the order of Anura. This toad looks for hiding places under dead wood or stones during the day time. They live in hilly and mountainous regions of the southern and middle Europe.
The toad ranges from 28-56mm in length and weighs around 2.3-12g. It is smaller than other members of the Bombinatoridae family that can grow up to 7cm in length. The top part of their body is gray-brown in color and features faded spots. The underside of their bodies is a black-blue to gray-blue color with orange to yellow patches or spots. These spots cover more than half of the underside of their bellies, giving them the name – Yellow-Bellied toad.
They have heart-shaped pupils and rounded snots. The over-side skin has many warts with raised swirls. The male mating calls extend from the early summer to late spring and they have no vocal bladder. This is why their call is quite gentle and melodic.
Asian Common Toad
The Duttaphrynus melanostictus has many names including Asian Common Toad, Asian black-spined toad, common Sunda toad, black-spectacled toad, and Javanese toad. It is widely distributed throughout the South and Southeast Asia including Pakistan, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, and many other regions. They are found from sea level to 5,900 ft altitude. Their most common habitats include lowland regions, upper beaches, riverbanks, agricultural spaces, and urban areas.
The Asian common toad grows up to 20cm (8 inches) long. The breeding season of the toad is during monsoon seasons and the tadpoles of the species are black in color. The tadpoles are known for their intelligence and can even recognize their kin. The top of their head has many bony ridges and their snout is short. They have a diet that consists mainly of invertebrates including scorpions.
Colorado River Toad
Sonoran Desert Toad is another name for the Colorado River toad. It is mainly found in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The toad is native to the lower Colorado River and lives in both semi-arid and desert areas. It is a semi-aquatic animal that can be found near canals, ditches, springs, and streams.
The Colorado River toad can also breed in artificial water bodies, which is why its breeding habits and distribution have altered with time. The breeding season for the toad starts in May when rains begin. The toads lay their eggs in breeding sites like ponds, slow-moving streams, man-made structure, and temporary pools 1-3 days after the rain. One female toad can lay up to 8,000 eggs.
It has a low-pitched, weak call that lasts less than a second and sounds like a toot. It can grow up to 190mm in length and is the second largest species of toads in the US (after Cane Toad). It has smooth, leathery skin which is mottled brown or olive green in color.
The Incilius periglenes is known as the Golden Toad due to its bright, yellowish-orange color. They were small in length and were considered true toads. They used to live in high-altitude regions in an area of around 4 sq km (1.5 sq mi) north of the city of Monteverde in Costa Rica. They used to be really common in the elfin cloud forests.
However, it soon became the ‘poster child’ for the declining numbers of amphibians around the world due to habitat loss and other issues. The Golden toad was first found by Jay Savage, a herpetologist, in 1966 and the last male golden toad was seen in 1989. It has been classified as extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Common Midwife Toad
The Alytes obstetrician is called the Common Midwife Toad and is part of the family of Alytidae. The name is due to how the male toad carries the eggs entwined on his thighs and back until they are ready to hatch.
It lives in countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Netherland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, and Spain. The natural habitat of the Common Midwife toad includes shrub-land, river, temperate forest, freshwater marshes, and many others. Even though it can live in so many different types of environments, it’s still facing habitat loss due to the expansion of human activity in recent years.
The Bufo gargarizans is known as the Asiatic toad or the Chusan Island toad. This species of the toad is commonly found in East Asian regions. They are found in China, Fareast Russia, Miyako islands of Japan, and rarely on the Korean Peninsula.
The Asiatic Toads occur in most habitats excluding dense forests. You may find them in open forests, meadows, grasslands, and other cultivated areas. They thrive in humid areas and cannot survive altitudes higher than 800 meters.
This toad has an important role in traditional Oriental medicine. The toxins secreted by the toad, Chan-Su or toad venom, are extracted. This extract has been touted for its medicinal properties. The dried skin of the toad is also prescribed as a remedy for ailments like dropsy. In 1998, Western medical science used an antimicrobial peptide extracted from this toad.
Also known as the Western Toad, Anaxyrus boreas is a species of large toads. They are found in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, Pacific Northwest, California, and the Sierra Nevada. They live in sedge meadows, ponds, grasslands, willow groves, and aspen.
They grow up to 5.6-13 cm (2.2-5.1 in) in length. The adults are prone to vocalizing and sound like peeping chicks. They eat any insect that they can catch and are able to jump a considerable distance. Their breeding season occurs from March to July in mountainous areas and from January to July in lower-elevation regions. The female toad can lay up to 17,000 eggs in one spawn. They are stuck together in strings that attach to objects along the water edges like vegetation.
Japanese Common Toad
The Bufo japonica is known as the Japanese Common Toad or simply the Japanese toad. It is part of the Bufonidae family. The Japanese Common toad is native to Japan and is found on islands like Shikoku, Kyushu, Hokkaido, and Honshu. It has also been introduced to the Hokkaido and Izu Ōshima. The natural habitat of the toad includes temperate forests, shrublands, springs, arable land, urban areas, irrigated lands, ponds, and arable land.
The Japanese Common toad has a length of about 17 cm (7 in) and the females are larger in size than male toads. The toads that live in warmer places are significantly larger than those that live in colder regions. The head of the toad has a pointed snout. The skin of the Japanese Common toad has small warty outgrowths. They can be greenish-brown, yellowish-brown or dark brown in color. The skin becomes smoother and paler in breeding seasons.
Toads are fascinating creatures. Each type has unique features, habits, and captivating colors. Unfortunately, due to our negligence, most toad species are on the edge of extinction. In fact, some types of toads have already gone extinct. It’s time we act responsibly and focus more on conservative efforts towards preserving their natural habitats. This way, we can continue to see bright, brilliant, and unique toads around the world.