FROGS & TOADS
Frogs and toads are members of different families within the Anura order. Frogs are members of the Ranidae family, whereas toads are members of the Bufonidae family. In North Louisiana, we have several species of both, including the state amphibian, the green tree frog (elected in 1993).
If you want to know how to identify a frog or toad…they’re those things that hop that aren’t rabbits or armadillos. If you want to tell the difference between toads and frogs, that's a little trickier. Frogs generally have a sheen to them, whereas toads are more course. Toads also have shorter legs than frogs. It’s easier to tell the difference between frog and toad eggs. While both lay their eggs in water, frogs lay their eggs in clusters while toads lay their eggs in long chains.
Most frogs and toads lay their eggs in calm water, and the eggs hatch into tadpoles. In about five weeks, the tadpoles lose their gills and tails. Once the tadpoles become frogs or toads, they can live outside of the water. Adult frogs and toads, like other amphibians, breathe using lungs, as well as through their skin. Frogs will stay semi aquatic, but will venture away from the water and into the road (as you know if you’ve ever driven in Louisiana on a summer night or if you’ve ever played Frogger). Toads, however, will spend much more time on land than in the water.
Frogs and toads are infamous as known associates of witches and dangerously mischievous boys. While I don’t suggest kissing them, they do serve an important role in the ecosystem. Because most frogs eat insects, they are invaluable to Louisianans hoping to limit their contact with flies and mosquitoes to a few hundred instances a day. (I mean it’s still Louisiana, and frogs and toads aren’t really magical.)
The most famous frogs and toads that live in North Louisiana are the American bullfrog, the southern leopard frog and the green tree frog. The American bullfrog is the largest frog in North America, growing large enough to eat crawfish, insects, minnows, and other frogs, as well as small birds and snakes. The southern leopard frog is nocturnal, and is the most commonly hunted for frog legs in the state. The green tree frog is the most famous of all our frogs and toads, but most people don’t realize it. The green tree frog was the prototype for Kermit, that lovable swamp frog that moved to Manhattan!
Where to Find North Louisiana Frogs & Toads
You can find North Louisiana frogs and toads almost anywhere, including your own yard! You can also find them near ponds, creeks, wetlands, and especially in roads. I don't suggest playing Frogger with them, though. That's just mean.