Toad Spawn Vs Frog Spawn
Toad spawn is extremely easy to tell apart from frog spawn as it forms in long strings under the water.
In contrast, frogspawn will be in clumps of jelly or foam.
Cane Toad Tadpoles Vs Frog Tadpoles
Cane toad tadpoles are usually easy to differentiate from native frog tadpoles as they will swarm together, clearly visible from the surface of the water, in the heat of the day. They will be entirely black, and their underbelly has an opaque sheen. The position of their eyes gives their body a diamond-shape appearance, and they have clear frill on their tail which makes the tail appear short in relation to their body. There may be exceptions so if you are unsure whether or not they are cane toads, please contact us to confirm an ID.
Native tadpoles are a variety of different colours and patterns. They will mostly shelter in vegetation rather than bask out in the open and generally avoid the heat of the day. They are also far more solitary than cane toads and will be on their own or in small, sparse groups rather than in big swarms, unless they have no choice due to drought or flooding impacts. Again, if you are unsure, contact us to confirm an ID.
Small Toad Vs Small Frog
Tiny toads are fairly easy to identify once you become familiar with them. When they first leave the water they will be tiny and jet black with smooth skin and a tail. Once they have been out of the water a while, their skin will get rougher and their colour will change and can vary from black or grey to beige and brown. You can usually see orange spots on the backs of the very little ones and as they mature they will develop stripes and other patterns on their backs. There are usually lots about, particularly around grassy edges. When stationary they generally sit upright and when active they jump forwards in an awkward, lurching movement. Their eyes will be ‘goat like’ with a horizontal pupil. Small toads can be active during the day and at night and will be wary of you, trying to flee when disturbed.
You are more likely to see native frogs in full or partial shade in the day-time than in full sun. There are lots and lots of different species and they can vary greatly in appearance. Some have smooth skin and some bumpy. Their posture will usually be flatter than a toad’s. Some native frogs are very small, even when fully grown and can appear similar to tiny toads to the untrained eye. Many species are incredibly athletic and springy. They are generally more afraid of you than toads and will spring away from you when you disturb them. ID mistakes can be common at this life stage. Every native frog is precious and ID mistakes must be avoided at all costs. If you are unsure whether or not they are cane toads, leave them alone and contact us to confirm an ID before any control measures are taken. Please download the excellent Frog ID resource at the bottom of this page, supplied by City of Gold Coast.
Cane Toad Vs Native Frog
Adult toads can vary greatly in colour from black, brown, grey, beige, yellow, speckled, stripes, spotty… the list goes on. Individuals will change their colour to match their environment. The males have rough, sandpapery skin and are often more yellow in colour, while the females have smooth but bumpy skin and can get much larger than the males. They have distinctive, horizontal, ‘goat-like’ eyes and always look angry. Toad’s bellies are usually a creamy marbled colour and pattern. Most notably, both males and females have large parotoid glands on either side of their neck behind their eyes.
Adult cane toads are very large compared to most native frogs and they will usually sit upright. The males call during mating season and chirrup when disturbed, the females are completely mute with no sound-making ability. You will find them hopping around lawns, undergrowth, near lights (looking for insects) and sat around the edges of waterways. They are usually pretty easy to pick up. A cane toad’s main defence is its gland secretion and when faced with a predator (you), they will often stay still and upright (to appear big), and wait to be grabbed so they can release their toxin. Sometimes you will have to chase them, particularly with the smaller ones which are more wary. If you are unsure whether or not they are cane toads, leave them be and contact us to confirm an ID before any control measures are taken.
Here are some native frogs that may be confused with cane toads. Have a good look at them all and compare their features with those of a cane toad, you will notice that they actually look quite different.
The key to telling the difference between cane toads and native frogs is to become really familiar with cane toads, their appearance and their behaviour. Once you are familiar with cane toads, you will easily be able to tell when something isn’t a cane toad.
If you have any ID queries, please post them in the Watergum Cane Toads facebook group
Download this excellent Frog ID booklet created by City of Gold Coast, familiarise yourself with it and check it regularly. If you live far from the Gold Coast this won’t have your local species in it but it will give you a good introduction to native frogs.
You can also refer to Watergum’s ‘Cane Toad or Native Frog?‘ page; make sure to check the additional resources listed at the bottom of the page.
If you have anything to add that will assist people in differentiating between native frogs and cane toads, please start the discussion below!