Illinois is home to several frog species, but only two kinds of toads. And only one kind of toad, the American toad, lives in northern Illinois. American toads live in on land, but they look for places where they can easily get to shallow water. Toads spend more time on land than frogs, but toads need water for breeding. They also use the water as a hiding spot and to find food. They mostly eat insects, snails, slugs, worms and other invertebrates, but they will also eat aquatic plants.
One of the things that separates toads and frogs is their skin. Frogs have smooth, moist skin, but a toad’s skin is bumpy and dry. American toads typically have warts or bumps on their backs. They are usually dark in color, but the color can vary from brown to gray to dark green and even deep red. American toads are smaller than our most familiar frog species, bullfrogs and green frogs. The toads typically grow to be only 2 inches to 3½ inches long. Bullfrogs can grow to be 8 inches or more.