General Amphibian Facts
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5
The following questions were answered by zoology professor Andy Blaustein, zoo nutritionist Ellen Dierenfeld, and zoo biologist Will Waddell.
How many types of frogs and toads are there? How many species of salamanders are there?
There are about 2,000 species of frogs and toads. All toads are frogs. There are several hundred species of salamanders.
What is the difference between toads and frogs?
All toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads. Toads are generally more land-dwelling. They have rougher skin with warty surfaces and they are usually in the family called Bufonidae.
Why are all toads frogs, but not all frogs toads?
This is because the term "frog" is a technical scientific name, whereas the term "toad" is used for certain types of frogs.
How long do frogs and toads live?
Many frogs live for five or ten years. Some frogs and toads can live for more than 30 years.
Why do toads have rough skin and frogs have smooth skin?
Most toads have special structures that secrete poisonous fluids from their skin. These structures make their skin bumpy.
Why are frogs slimy?
They have protective skin secretions that ooze out of their body. These secretions keep them moist and help them in other ways.
Why do frogs have such long, sticky tongues?
The tongues are long so they can catch their prey such as flying insects.
Do toads really give warts?
Neither frogs nor toads give you warts.
Do frogs change sex?
There is one species of frog that seems to change its sex. It is known as the reed frog.
What other animals can be classified as amphibians along with frogs and toads?
Caecilians is another type of amphibian found throughout the tropics. They don't have any legs and look like large earthworms; some can reach about four feet long!
What percentage of amphibians are poisonous?
I do not know the exact number, but the skin secretions of many frogs, toads, and salamanders are very poisonous to humans and animals. In fact, South American Indians use the skin secretions of poison dart frogs on the tips of their arrows to kill animals. The rough-skinned newt, common to Oregon, is very deadly. One college student several years ago swallowed one on a dare and he died because it gives off something known as a neurotoxin that paralyzed his ability to breathe.
What are some endangered amphibians?
There are many, including the Golden toad of Costa Rica and the Gastric Brood frog of Australia.