Are Toads Reptiles or Amphibians?

Toads are considered amphibians.  Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates that undergo a larval stage and metamorphosis before becoming adults (e.g., pollywogs and tadpoles are frog or toad larvae). Amphibians need to keep their skin damp so it doesn’t dry out and they usually mate and lay their eggs in water. Frogs, toads, and salamanders are all examples of amphibians.

Reptiles and amphibians are distantly related to one another and have quite a few similarities.  However there are still many differences that can be found between the two.  These differences can often be distinguished from each other based off of physical appearance and the different stages of life.

The word amphibian literally means “living double lives”.  This refers to creatures who are living two lives: one in water with gills and the other on land once they grow lungs with age.  Amphibians are vertebrates and cold blooded.  Early amphibians were the first animals to leave sea and eventually venture onto land.

Whereas the word reptile means “to creep stealthily under cover of darkness” this group of animals has scales, breathe air and usually lay eggs.  Most reptiles live on land and reproduce by laying eggs.  An amphibian’s skin texture is smooth, moist and rather sticky. It is laden with mucuous glands and although most amphibians have lungs most breathe through their skin and the lining of their mouths.  Reptile’s skin is dry and scaly.  Amphibians usually have to stay near water sources to prevent drying out whereas reptiles do not.

Amphibian’s eggs are soft and covered by a gel.  They do not have a hard protective covering and are usually found in water or damp places.  Reptiles lay amniotic eggs with hard leathery surfaces.  They usually lay these eggs on land or keep them inside of their bodies until they are ready to hatch.

Both amphibians and reptiles are equipped with ways to defend themselves against predators.  Amphibian’s including some species of toads have toxic skin secretions while other species of amphibians are known to bite.  Amphibians do not however have claws or nails.  Reptiles such as the crocodile do have claws, as well as whipping tails that can really do some damage.  They are also obviously known to bite, and some even have venom.

Reptiles originated around three hundred and some odd million years ago during the Carboniferous period, having evolved from advanced reptile-like amphibians that became increasingly adapted to life on dry land.  Unlike amphibians, reptiles do not have or require an aquatic larval stage.  Interestingly enough, it did not become known until around the nineteenth century that reptiles and amphibians are two different types of animals.

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