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Friday, September 18, 2015

What do baby toads look like?

“I know that tadpoles hatch out of eggs, grow legs, and become baby frogs, but I don’t know anything about baby toads. What happens to them?”

Baby toads are much the same as baby frogs! Both creatures are amphibians, and both lay eggs that develop into tadpoles. There are a few ways to tell frog and toad eggs and tadpoles apart. While frogs lay their eggs in clumps, toads lay theirs in long strands. Both kinds of tadpoles are black when they first hatch, but frogs change to a mottled brown while tadpoles remain black. Also, toad tadpoles will hang together in groups, called shoals, which isn’t something frog tadpoles will do. [Info from]

Ohio is home to the Eastern Spadefoot toad, the Eastern American toad, and Fowler’s toad. According to, it takes about two to ten days for their eggs to hatch and two to eight weeks for the tadpoles to fully develop.

Of all the frogs and toads, the Surinam toad has the most interesting way of hatching its eggs. After fertilization, the eggs sink into the mother’s back. A layer of skin grows over them. The eggs hatch in the pockets on her back and the tadpoles spend three to four months developing under her skin before hatching out as fully-formed tiny little toads. The mother then sheds her skin, ready to undergo the whole process next breeding season. While this aquatic toad is native to South America, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo houses dwarf Surinam toads in its Rainforest exhibit for anyone to visit.

For more information on frogs and toads, Chris Mattison’s Encyclopedia of North American Reptiles and Amphibians, William W. Lamar’s The World’s Most Spectacular Reptiles and Amphibians, and Frogs: A Chorus of Color by John and Deborah Behler are available for borrowing here at the Newton Falls Public Library. 

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