Fun Frogs and Toads Information for Grades 3-4
Frogs and toads are some of the most interesting creatures on the planet. Although they are all around us, most people do not really know that much about these animals, which have been around since the time of the dinosaurs. Evidence of the first frogs dates back to the early Jurassic period, about 200 million years ago.
Frogs and toads are among the most diverse animal group, thriving in many different types of conditions and ranging greatly in size and features. These animals, which are part of the amphibian group, live on all continents except for Antarctica.
Differences Between Frogs and Toads
There are approximately 2,520 different types of frogs and toads in the world, and they vary vastly from each other. Both animals are in the frog family, so technically, toads are frogs!
Basically though, the differences are:
- Frogs’ skin is wet and looks slimy. Toads’ skin is dry and bumpy looking.
- Frogs’ bodies are leaner while toads are wider.
- Frogs’ legs are longer and powerful, while toads’ are shorter and less powerful.
- Frogs’ eyes bulge and stick out more than toads’ eyes.
- Frogs have very developed webs on the back legs as they spend more time in the water than toads, which have less developed ones.
- Frogs mainly live in water while toads live on land.
- Frogs jump and toads walk.
- Frogs lay their eggs in clusters and toads lay them in long chains, although both types of babies start out as tadpoles and live in water.
- Toads have poison glands behind their eyes which emit a terrible taste and smell badly. These glands serve to ward off predators, which is a feature that frogs do not possess.
It can be very difficult to tell the difference between some types of frogs and toads, especially those that live near the equator and the only true way to tell the difference between them is to examine their teeth and skeletons! There are indeed some frogs with dry, bumpy skin and some toads with smooth, slimy skin.
Some Interesting Types of Frogs and Toads
- The Gardiner’s Seychelles Frog grows to a maximum length of 11 millimeters, which is smaller than your thumbnail.
- The Purple frog spends most of its’ time about 13 feet underground eating insects.
- The lungless frog is actually lungless, and breathes through its skin.
- The fanged frog lives in Thailand and eats birds as part of its’ diet.
- The Kihansi spray toad is the size of a penny.
- The Brazilian Horned frog looks like a leaf and blends in with its surroundings so well that it can easily eat unfortunate prey that happens to be walking by (including people’s feet!)
- The beautifully colored Harlequin toad is so poisonous that it is 100 times stronger than potassium cyanide.
- The Goliath frog is the largest of all frogs and toads and can weigh up to 5 pounds. Its legs are so long that it can jump up to 10 feet at a time.
Interesting Facts About Frogs and Toads
- Frogs and toads must close their eyes to swallow. When they shut their eyes, it pushes them down into their throats, which forces their food down.
- Toads and frogs do not need to drink water as they absorb it through their skin.
- Frogs and toads live on only moving prey. Their eyes cannot detect prey if it is still.
- Some frogs croaks are so loud that they can be heard from miles away.
- Some frogs spend their winters frozen and revive once they thaw in the spring due to natural antifreeze produced in their bodies.
- Most frogs and toads are nocturnal, have four fingers on their front legs, and five on their back.
- Only male frogs can croak.
- When frogs hibernate, their bones grow an extra layer. If you looked inside their bones, you could tell how old the frog was by the number of rings.
Frogs and toads are interesting and amazing creatures. They may differ in size, shape, color and features, but they share lots of characteristics. They tend to be very susceptible to environmental changes, and many species are on the verge of becoming endangered. In recent years, seeral species have become extinct. These special animals are important contributors to our ecosystem and deserve a close look!
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