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American Toad

Photographer: Patrick Coin

Main Characteristics: American Toads are a common species of toad and they grow between 5 and 9 cms (2 - 3.5 inches) in length. They have a life expectancy of approximately 10 years in the wild but on average they only live for a year.

They are mainly coloured various shades of brown but they can also be red, olive or grey. Their colour can change depending on the temperature, humidity and stress level and it can range from yellow to black. Their underside is coloured yellow or white.

Their skin is tough and warty and it contains many glands which produce a milky poison when they feel threatened.

American Toads have short limbs and they have webbed toes on their hind legs. Their pupils are oval in shape and they have a gold circle around them.

Habitat: American Toads are found throughout eastern Canada and eastern USA. They prefer areas with vegetation and a semi-permanent body of fresh water. They are commonly found in forests, gardens and agricultural fields.

They are solitary, except during the breeding season and they are active at night. During the day they hide under logs, rocks or leaf litter and if they live in a region that has a cold winter, they will hibernate during the winter months.

Diet :American Toads each a wide variety of insects and other invertebrates. They have a long sticky tongue to catch their prey, but larger prey they will grab and force it into their mouth with their hands. They can eat up to 1,000 insects per day and they do not need to drink as they absorb water through their skin.

Breeding: American Toads breed during spring and males gather near a freshwater source and call to attract females. 4,000 - 8,000 eggs are laid in two strings and in 3 - 12 days they hatch.

The tadpoles have large bodies and slender tails in relation to the size of their body. Metamorphosis takes place over 30 - 70 days and the young toadlets will remain around water for a few days before becoming mostly terrestrial. American Toads become sexually mature when they reach 2 - 3 years of age.

Subspecies: Subspecies of the American Toad include:

Eastern American Toad (Bufo americanus americanus)

Dwarf American Toad (Bufo americanus charlesmithi) Mainly dark reddish in colour and reaches lengths of 6.35 cms (2.5 inches)

Hudson Bay Toad (Bufo americanus copei) A rare subspecies found in Canada.

Latin Name Bufo americanus
Conservation Status Least Concern
Location East Canada & East USA
Colour Various (see below)
Length 5 - 9 cms (2 - 3.5 inches)
Habit

Mostly Terrestrial

Breeding Season

Spring

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