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American toad (Bufo americanus).—George PorterThe National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers
Any member of 26 genera (order Anura) of mainly terrestrial, nocturnal, tailless amphibians. Toads have a squat body, short legs, external fertilization, and teeth in the upper jaw. They eat insects or small animals. The more than 300 species of true toads (Bufo) are found almost worldwide. They are 1–10 in. (2–25 cm) long and have thick, dry, often warty skin. Poison secreted by glands on the back and warts irritates the eyes and mucous membranes of predators. Some species' poison can paralyze or kill animals as large as dogs, but toads do not cause warts. Toads reproduce by laying in water two long jelly tubes containing 600–30,000 eggs. The genus Nectophrynoides contains the only anurans that bear live young. See alsofrog, horned toad.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on toad, visit Britannica.com.