|European fire-bellied toad (Bombina bombina)|
A distinction between frogs and toads is not made in scientific taxonomy, but is common in popular culture (folk taxonomy), in which toads are associated with drier, rougher skin and more terrestrial habitats.
In scientific taxonomy, toads are found in the families Bufonidae, Bombinatoridae, Calyptocephalellidae, Discoglossidae, Myobatrachidae, Pelobatidae, Rhinophrynidae, Scaphiopodidae and Microhylidae.
Usually the largest of the bumps on the skin of a toad are those that cover the parotoid glands. The bumps are commonly called warts, but they have nothing to do with pathologic warts, being fixed in size, present on healthy specimens and not caused by infection.[unreliable source?] Frogs travel from non-breeding to breeding areas of ponds and lakes. Bogert (1947) suggests that the toads' call is the most important cue in the homing to ponds. Toads, like many amphibians, exhibit breeding site fidelity (philopatry). Individual American toads return to their natal ponds to breed where they are likely to encounter siblings as potential mates. Although inbred examples within a species is possible, siblings rarely mate. Toads recognize and avoid mating with close kin. Advertisement vocalizations given by males appear to serve as cues by which females recognize kin. Kin recognition thus allows avoidance of inbreeding and consequent inbreeding depression.
In Kenneth Grahame's novel The Wind in the Willows (1908), Mr. Toad is a likeable and popular, if selfish and narcissistic, comic character. Mr. Toad reappears as the lead character in A.A. Milne's play Toad of Toad Hall (1929), based on the book.
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, originally planned as a roller coaster but adapted by Walt Disney as a family-friendly dark ride, is one of the few Disneyland attractions operational since the Anaheim, California park opened in 1955. The ride is based on the film The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949), itself developed (in part) from Grahame's novel. A Magic Kingdom version of the ride operated upon Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida, when it opened in 1971, but was closed and replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 1998.
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- Encyclopædia Britannica. 26 (11th ed.). 1911. p. 1035. .