Which Is More Poisonous: Frog or Toad? – (With Comparison)

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Frogs and toads are both amphibians and they are similar in many ways, but they are also different in a few ways.

They both look very similar but the key differences are that a frog will have larger hind legs than its head and body, they usually jump, and their skin will be moist all the time.

Talking about the toad, you will see that they have shorter hind legs, they crawl and don’t jump, and their skin is dry with raised bumps all over the skin.

Now that you know the key differences, let’s be on the safe side and know which one is more poisonous.

Which Is More Poisonous: Frog Or Toad? Toads are actually more poisonous than frogs. Toads have their parotid glands behind their eyes and neck which secrete the poison. Yes, frogs are poisonous as well but if you see, most toad species are poisonous as compared to the number of frog species.

Most toads have special structures (parotid glands) that secrete poisonous fluids from their skin. These structures make their skin somewhat bumpy as well.

Many Predator species don’t feed on toads, and they have learned that feeding on toads may kill them due to the deadly poison secretions.


If we talk about the frogs, there are not many poisonous frogs out there as compared to those of the toads.

Many predators eat frogs like foxes, owls, herons, and polecats, to name but a few, as they are safe to feed on.

Which Is More Poisonous: Frog or Toad? (5 Factors To Consider)

1. Presence of Parotid Glands


The outer integument (a tough outer protective layer) which remains mostly moist all of the time is characterized by the presence of parotid glands which are also known as parotid macroglands.

The parotoid macroglands are located on the dorsal side of the head behind the eyes along with tibial macroglans on the rear limbs, and radial macroglands on the forelimbs of frogs.

All of the 3 i.e the parotoid, tibial, and radial macroglands consist of aggregates of elongated and juxtaposed poison glands arranged in a honeycomb style, very similar to that of frogs.

These glands altogether have various secretory granules that secrete bufotoxin (neurotoxin) with the different biochemical compositions varying from species to species.


In toads, the parotid glands are present on the back, neck, and shoulder parts of the skin. These glands are something like the wart-like bumpy dry appearance of the skin.

These glands are composed of numerous lobules with a lumen surrounded by a double cell layer.

The outer cell layer functions in some aspects of venom synthesis and the inner layer are involved in venom formation and release.

The parotid glands can secrete milky alkaloid substances depending on the species which are known collectively as bufotoxins. These bufotoxins can act as neurotoxins that are destructive to our nerve tissue.

2. Their Diet


Small to medium-sized frogs eat insects such as flies, mosquitoes, moths, and dragonflies. Larger frogs will eat larger insects like grasshoppers, worms, bugs that may or may not produce insect toxins.

Insect toxins are often alkaloid compounds. These compounds primarily serve as growth inhibitors, feeding deterrents, and often possess toxins such as neurotoxins.

It is also to be noted that the frogs don’t make the poisons themselves. They get them from insects like ants that they eat.

These compounds are later broken down by the frog’s metabolism and released during the time of stress by the frog.

The poison compound’s nature of the frogs has been traced similar to ants, beetles, and millipedes.


Toads get their poison from their diet. The poisonous toads get their secretions from their diet that includes alkaloid-containing ants and other insects.

Toads basically feed on any insects they get and so when they eat any alkaloid-containing insects they absorb their alkaloid compound which is actually the poison.

Yes, we know that the alkaloids are toxic but the toads have evolved in such a way that allows them to break down that alkaloid compound and store these as toxins in sacs in their skin without being poisoned themselves.

3. Body Colouration


Remember, everything that looks pretty isn’t always good. This statement can be stated true in the case of frogs.

Here, many frog species that seem to be the most attractive and colorful are indeed the most dangerous and poisonous ones.

Poison frogs come in a wide variety of patterns and colors, but most are brighter, strikingly beautiful, and extraordinary than the non-poisonous frog species.

Don’t just be lured by the colors, they are indeed the most fatal ones.

Most poisonous frogs like the Poison dart frogs are some of the most brilliant and beautiful colored frogs present on Earth. They are very colorful with combinations of yellow, gold, copper, red, green, blue, or even black.


Toads are actually not so colorful as compared to the bright and colorful frogs that are poisonous in nature. So, it can be a bit tricky to know which toad is poisonous.

They are often brown or green in color, which gradually helps them to blend into their surroundings and escape detection from their predators. But, remember not all green and brown toads are poisonous.

If they are a bit brightly colored and with attractive wart-like bumpy designs on their upper surface then it’s poisonous.

Poisonous toads can also puff up their bodies filling the alkaloid neurotoxins in their glands.

In the poisonous toads, you will find a light brown colored bump behind their eyes. This bump will look light colored as compared to their brightly colored body.

Another thing is that if you press that light brown colored bump behind their eyes, you will see that it will secrete white-milky alkaloid fluid from it proving the poisonous nature of the toad. It’s there the parotid gland is located.

4. Diurnal and Habitat


Poisonous frogs are found in warm, humid, and tropical rainforest regions of Central and South America.

They remain mostly active during the daytime and there are only a few that are seen at night time.

You can find them more often in regions like in Bolivia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Suriname, French Guiana, Peru, Panama, Guyana, Nicaragua, India, and Hawaii.

Many of them can also be seen in Madagascar Island and in the regions of the deep Amazon rainforests.

The very best way to identify them is by looking at their beautiful and extraordinarily colored body.

They remain half of their time in the damp areas near the water bodies and another halftime underwater in the ponds, or in other stagnant water bodies.


Toads are mostly nocturnal in nature i.e. they occur or become active mostly at night.

During the daytime, they can be seen lying in the shade near the trees, rocks, etc. in forests, grasslands, or wetlands, and swamps.

The poisonous toads are typically only found in certain parts of North America, including the region between Arizona and California and in Florida, Texas, Hawaii, and in other tropical areas respectively.

Some live in forests and grasslands, others inhabit wetlands and swamps. Mostly they don’t stay in wet areas and prefer dry places only.

Their habitat preference varies from species to species and from region to region.

Many species also occupy more urban areas close to human settlements. They live in parks, gardens, retention ponds, farms, pastures, and suburbs.

5. Predation by predators


Frogs have developed a lot of tactics to protect themselves from their enemies. They do know how to dive, swim, and remain hidden at the bottom of the water for a long time.

The best way to protect themselves is that they secrete poisons that create pain and are often neurotoxic to the predators. A few species have developed such a poison secreting mechanism only.

In some frogs’ skins, there is a very sour liquid that animals do not like. So, many don’t feed on them as well.

Overall, if you see, not many frogs are poisonous in nature. Many predators eat frogs like foxes, owls, herons, and polecats, to name but a few.


A lot of the toad species are poisonous in nature as compared to that of the frog species.

The toads have parotoid glands, which is actually a part of their self-defense system to save them from predators.

Their skin surface contains the parotid gland which secretes a poisonous substance called bufotoxin (milky-white alkaloid substance) that causes allergic reactions and even death in various animals who try to feed on them.

The glands make enough bufotoxin to cover certain toad species’ entire bodies, making it impossible for predators to touch them to avoid the substance.

Moreover, their dry, buffed-up body looks super ugly, smelly, and distasteful for predators to feed on them.

But, if any predator somehow feeds on them or even touches them, their mild poison can eventually make them appear drunk with seizures, heavy fever, or can even stop their breathing if too toxic.

ANSWER: Which One Is More Poisonous?

After considering all of the 5 factors i.e. the presence of parotid glands, diet, body coloration, habitat, predation by predators, and all other related factors it can be stated that the Toads are actually more poisonous than frogs.

Although there are species of both toads and frogs that are poisonous in nature but, the percentage of poisonous toads is more than those of the frogs.

Frogs living mostly in water actually have a lot of defensive mechanisms to save them from predators, one of which is the secretion of poison from their glands.

One the other hand, toads living mostly in the land don’t have so many defensive mechanisms as compared to the frogs, and what they only have the most is their poison to protect themselves.

Only a few species of frogs are poisonous as compared to the total discovered frog species. These frogs mostly stay and reproduce underwater, and only come out of the water occasionally. Some even stay on the tress in the various wet and tropical rainforests regions like Amazon.

Toads remain in the dry land, under the shade, and become very active during the nighttime. Toads are a specific family of frogs, the Bufonidae. Since they’re all closely related, they share a number of characteristics – their thicker skin, and most notably, the parotoid glands that are used for producing poison.

Nature has kept the balance of both the poisonous frogs and toads. It’s only that humans have discovered more poisonous species of toads than those of the frogs.

So, it can also be clearly said that most toads are poisonous, as are many species of frogs.

A Toad
A Toad

How can you tell if its a frog or a toad?

Now that you know, that toads are more poisonous than frogs, it’s important that you know how to identify a toad or a frog clearly.

The identification of a frog or a toad is very easy. Read the following points to understand how to identify:

1. Toads are warty-looking, covered in little lumps and bumps, while frogs are sleek and smooth.

2. Toads’ skin surface is dry and rough. Frogs’ skin surface is wet with mucus and various secretory fluids.

3. Toads’ skin is not waterproof. Frogs’ skin is waterproof.

4. Toads stay on dry, shady surfaces, and they enter the water only to lay eggs. Frogs stay underwater mostly.

5. Frogs have long legs, longer than their head and body, and so they can jump from place to place. Toads, on the other hand, have much shorter legs and prefer to crawl for moving from place to place.

6. Frogs are average skinny type and athletic-looking, whereas toads are somewhat squat, fatty-type, and dumpy.

7. Frog lay her eggs in clumps in water, whereas toad lay her eggs in stringy lengths in water.

8. Frog tadpoles are slimmer whereas, toad tadpoles are chunky.

9. Frog tadpoles are also covered in gold flecks, while toad tadpoles are plain black in color.

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