To better serve site visitors, Government of Alberta ministry web content is being centralized on Webpages on this ministry site will be either relocated to or removed over the next few months. Messaging and redirects will help guide you to updated content during and after this transition. Scheduled completion date for this project is March 31, 2019. Thank you for your patience as we proceed with these changes.


Toads and frogs are sometimes difficult to tell apart. Both groups of animals are known as anurans, or the tail-less amphibians.

To make things even more confusing, the term "frog" can correctly be used to describe both frogs and toads. And of course the so-called "horned toad" isn't even an amphibian — it's really a reptile, and properly should be called a "horned lizard."

True toads

True toads are those amphibians belonging to the Genus Bufo. Toads have a number of characteristic features:

  • Warty skin
  • Little webbing on hind feet
  • Enlarged parotoid (poison) glands on the shoulders
  • Prominent tubercles (knoblike projections) on their hind feet for digging in the soil

In Alberta, there are three true toads:

  • Canadian toad
  • Great Plains toad
  • Western (Boreal) toad


In addition to Alberta's three true toad species, there is one member of the Spadefoot family, the plains spadefoot.

Spadefoots lack the enlarged parotoid gland and they are less warty than true toads.

Related links

Learn more about Alberta's toad species. See:


Page Information

Posted: Mar 11, 2009