Frog or Toad? It’s a good question and one that the University of Florida’s Wildlife Extension experts are prepared to help you answer. In Florida, there are 33 frog and toad species (19 frogs, 8 tree frogs, 6 toads), but not all of them are found state-wide; some are only found in certain regions of the state. This fact alone can help when trying to positively identify a frog or toad.
How to tell if it is a frog or toad:
One initial observation to make is how the frog moves. If you find a frog that is able to cling to a wall or window, then it is a tree frog (1 of 8 species). If you find it hopping around on the ground then it is either a toad (1 of 6 species) or other terrestrial frog (1 of 19 species). Your next step could be to visit the UF/IFAS Frogs & Toads of Florida Image Index where you can search through a database of frog and toad photographs to try to match what you saw with the pictures provided. If you were not able to see the frog or toad, but you heard it, the USGS Frog Call Lookup is a great tool for identifying a frog by its call.
Spring, summer and fall in Florida are prime breeding times for frogs. This means you might year lots of loud frog calls. If you’re not a fan of the loud calls, there are a few steps you can take to potentially alleviate the noise disturbance. Frogs love to eat insects and the insects are attracted to light, which means if you have lights around your house, you are most likely attracting insects and frogs too. Turning off outdoor lighting and blocking inside light from shining out can help keep frogs away from your home and hopefully lead to a peaceful sleeping environment.
While frogs and toads might not be your favorite critter they are a favorite to many scientists because they are a key indicator species of the health of our ecosystems. For more information about frogs as an indicator species, visit http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw233 or join us at Pinellas County Extension’s satellite campus at Brooker Creek Preserve on Saturday, February 23rd at 10:30am for a presentation on the Frogs of Florida. For free registration for this environmental education opportunity, click here.
And remember, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension is here to provide you with unbiased, research-based information from scientists at the University of Florida to help improve your quality of life. Help us help you by spreading the word about Extension with your friends and family!