The common frog and the common toad are found throughout Britain. The natterjack toad is now rare and fully protected by law and is mainly confined to some coastal sand dunes and lowland heaths.
What is the difference?
- have smooth, moist skin which is not slimy
- have special glands to keep the skin moist and supple - this helps them to 'breathe' through their skin as well as their lungs so that they can stay underwater for a long time
- are mottled shades of green, yellow or brown
- have a distinct brown patch behind the eye
- move in springy leaps
- lay spawn in clumps.
- have a dry warty skin which means they can't 'breathe' through their skin as well as frogs, but they can survive on land in drier places
- are usually grey-brown
- crawl rather than hop
- lay long, double row, strings of eggs.
- have a yellow stripe down their back
- often run quite fast
- lay long, single row, strings of eggs.
Both frogs and toads eat a lot of beetles, bugs and woodlice and the frogs will eat a large number of slugs and snails, whereas toads favour ants. Don't be surprised if frogs or toads are found in greenhouses. They are attracted there by the warm, moist conditions and will live in a greenhouse quite happily, eating the insects and other small creatures that live there too.
Annual migration of toads to breeding sites
Each spring, toads may be seen migrating in large groups and over distances of a kilometre or more to return to their pond to breed. At this time, toads are vulnerable when crossing roads, with many being squashed by cars. People can help by carefully carrying the toads across the road; many areas organise toad patrols. Other measures can be taken and details of these can be obtained from the Toads on Roads project.
Caution:- Handling of any animal either domestic, wild, dead or alive may be potentially hazardous. Obvious dangers include bites, scratches and general hygiene issues. Common sense should be applied in all instances and, if unsure, seek additional advice or assistance. Personal hygiene should be taken into consideration after handling any animal, whether domestic, wild, dead or alive.
Other useful information:
Breeding season for British frogs and newts
Caring for amphibians and reptiles as non-domestic pets
Dead frogs in a pond
Ice on a garden pond
Pond overcrowded with amphibians
Too much frogspawn in a pond