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name applied to certain members of the amphibianamphibian,
in zoology, cold-blooded vertebrate animal of the class Amphibia. There are three living orders of amphibians: the frogs and toads (order Anura, or Salientia), the salamanders and newts (order Urodela, or Caudata), and the caecilians, or limbless amphibians (order
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 order Anura, which also includes the frogfrog,
common name for an amphibian of the order Anura. Frogs are found all over the world, except in Antarctica. They require moisture and usually live in quiet freshwater or in the woods. Some frogs are highly aquatic, while others are better adapted to terrestrial habitats.
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. Although there is no clear-cut distinction between toads and frogs, the name toad commonly refers to those species that have relatively short legs, stout bodies, and thick skins, and are less aquatic as adults than the long-legged, slender-bodied frogs.

Sometimes the term toad is restricted to the so-called true toads, members of the family Bufonidae. These are characterized by warty skins and prominent parotid glands behind the eyes and as a group are the most terrestrial of the order. In most the feet are only slightly webbed. They range in length from about 1 to 7 in. (2.5–18 cm). Most species belong to the genus Bufo; members of these species spend much of the time on land, generally near water. They generally live in cool, moist places and absorb moisture through the skin. The white fluid that they exude through the skin, as well as from the parotid glands, is very poisonous and causes intense burning if it comes in contact with the eyes or mouth; however, contrary to an old belief, it does not cause warts. Toads, like frogs, move on land by jumping and feed on insects and grubs. Also like frogs, they usually lay their eggs in water in strands of jelly. Fertilization is external. The egg hatches into a tadpoletadpole,
larval, aquatic stage of any of the amphibian animals. After hatching from the egg, the tadpole, sometimes called a polliwog, is gill-breathing and legless and propels itself by means of a tail.
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, a gilled, aquatic, larval toad that undergoes metamorphosis into the adult.

There are about a dozen Bufo species in the United States, among them the common American toad (Bufo americanus), Fowlers toad (B. fowleri), of the E United States, and the red-spotted toad (B. punctatus), of the Southwest. The cane, marine, or giant toad (B. marinus), a large toad native to Central and N South America, was widely introduced in warm regions (Caribbean, Pacific, Australia, and Florida) to control agricultural pests but is now regarded as an invasive species; they compete with and prey on native species, and their toxic secretions can kill predators.

The spadefoot toads, burrowing toads of the family Pelobatidae, are represented in the United States by several species of the genus Scaphiopus. Toads are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Amphibia, order Anura.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Many a Witch of old was accused of having a "familiar"—an imp of the devil—to do her bidding, and this was frequently described by her accusers as being in the shape of a toad. One reason behind this thought was that most Wise Ones would indeed keep a toad in their garden to take care of the insects that attacked the flowers and plants. Many of the aromatic plants and herbs attracted all forms of insect life. A toad was therefore a common possession.

In 1566 Mother Waterhouse, one of the Chelmsford witches, purportedly changed her white-spotted cat into a toad. In 1579, at Windsor, Mother Dutton of Cleworth Parish was accused of keeping a spirit "in the likeness of a toad" and feeding it while it was "lying in a border of green herbs" in her garden. Three years later, at St. Osyth in Essex, eight-year-old Thomas Rabbet claimed that his mother, Ursley Kemp, had several spirits, one of which was "black like a toad." That same year, Alice Hunt, also of St. Osyth, confessed to having two spirits like toads, "the one called Tom and the other Robbyn." In 1599 Olive Barthram, executed at Bury St. Edmunds for "devilish and wicked witcheries practiced upon Joan Jorden," was supposed to have sent three toads to trouble her victim in her bed. In 1665, at the trial of the Bury St. Edmund witches, a Dr. Jacob gave evidence that he had found a toad in the bedding of one of the children involved in accusing the two women in the case. The doctor stated that he had thrown the toad into a fire and as a result one of the accused, Amy Duny, developed burns on her arms. Similarly, in the Maldon case of 1579, a toad was burned and Mary Smith (executed in 1616) also suffered appropriate burns.

It was generally believed that a jewel could be found buried in a toad's head. Such a stone had great magical properties and was highly sought. Any stone that had a color reminiscent of a toad, or was in the shape of a toad, came to be called a "toad stone" and might be set into a ring or pendant, to be worn as a protective talisman.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


(pop culture)
One of Magneto's original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the Toad hopped into the Marvel Universe in X-Men vol. 1 #4 (1964). An outcast because of his gargoyle-like looks, mutant Mortimer Toynbee welcomes Magneto's vision of a society ruled by mutants and becomes his boot-licking pawn. The Toad is also obsessed with the Brotherhood's Scarlet Witch, a stalker-worthy fixation he would nurture for years. The Toad was pathetically deferential to the harsh Magneto, even when they were both held captive on another planet by the alien known as the Stranger. Finally buckling under the weight of his master's tyranny, the Toad turned against Magneto and even tried to take his life. The Toad studied and stole advanced technology during a return trip to the Stranger's planet, then came home to Earth to strike against his former enemies, calling himself “the Terrible Toad King” on a short-lived, unsuccessful path of vengeance. The Toad considered becoming a superhero but opted to continue his villainy, confidently stretching his legs by forming his own Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. He eventually returned to his familiar turf of subservience to other supervillains. The Toad also exists in Marvel's reinvented “Ultimate” Universe in the series Ultimate X-Men (2001–present). The Toad's often cloying manner, repellent appearance, and bizarre superpowers are offensive to both “friend” (of whom he has few) and foe. His superhumanly strong legs allow him to leap tremendous distances and lift several tons, and, like his namesake, he frequently crouches. After a time-traveling sojourn on the sentient spaceship Prosh, the Toad gained the abilities to lash his long, prehensile tongue as a weapon and exude from his pores paralysis- inducing mucus; these freakish traits, and his foul body odor, often keep others at arm's length. Actor Ray Park, under green, wart-encrusted makeup, popularized the Toad in the live-action movie X-Men (2000), but that wasn't the mutant's first screen appearance. He and the Brotherhood were seen in an episode of television's animated Spider- Man and His Amazing Friends (1981–1986). The cartoon X-Men: Evolution (2000–2003) also utilized the Toad, renamed from Toynbee to Todd Tolensky. Toy Biz has produced Toad action figures based upon the comics, movie, and Evolution interpretations. A different supervillain calling himself the Toad, a counterfeiter wearing a frog-head mask, briefly fought the Archie Comics superhero the Black Hood in the mid-1960s. Other frog-like supervillains include the Hulk's enemies the Toad Men and Daredevil's jumping foe the Leap-Frog.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


(vertebrate zoology)
Any of several species of the amphibian order Anura, especially in the family Bufonidae; glandular structures in the skin secrete acrid, irritating substances of varying toxicity.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. any anuran amphibian of the class Bufonidae, such as Bufo bufo (common toad) of Europe. They are similar to frogs but are more terrestrial, having a drier warty skin
2. any of various similar amphibians of different families
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Yale says there was an agreement in place for 30 years in which it voluntarily allowed Toad's and its employees and patrons to access Yale's property in case of an emergency only.
Monitoring arroyo toads (Bufo californicus) in the San Bernardino National Forest, 2004.
The Amargosa toad was first petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act in 1994 due to threats which included invasive species, habitat loss, vegetation encroachment and ground water pumping.
The Zoom Horny Toad was the first to truly capture both the bass, and the angler's, attention.
Sam Taylor, from amphibian charity Froglife, explains: "Toads are generally incredibly faithful to their breeding ponds, and make this massive effort to get back there.
The common toad - an amphibian with warty skin and waddling gait - is thought to be experiencing declines across the UK In some cases it's caused by the effect of road traffic as toads travel slowly back to the same breeding ponds, often used for generations.
One reason the rainbow toad stayed "lost" for so long is that researchers weren't looking in the right place.
Even with the species on the verge of extirpation, there are still signs of hope for the boreal toads of Rocky Mountain National Park.
"The system seems to be absorbing the toads," agrees Ross Alford of James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland.
After so many sad tales of invasive species overwhelming hapless natives, scientists have found a native toad in Indonesia that's fighting back.
But what could have turned into a horrible scene where I threw the toad or squashed him before my son's horrified eyes actually ended happily.
Graeme Sawyer said there would be plenty of whack-happy visitors keen to take part in the game, even though past proposals by tour operators to include toad busts in their overnight camps had been knocked back.