Creature Feature

Creature Feature – American Toad Trivia

Posted by  //  May 20, 2020  //  Articles, Creature Feature

The chubby American toad measures 2-4” long.  It has rough skin in shades of brown, red or olive, with dark blotches and “warts” of varying colors.  Its belly is white with black spots.  It can be found in many habitats, including forests, backyards and gardens.   Its thick skin helps retain moisture, allowing the toad to live in places too dry for most other amphibians.  During a short breeding season each spring, it congregates in shallow ponds and streams, along river edges and in wet ditches.  The male toad attracts mates with a melancholy, monotone trill lasting up to 30 seconds.  During mating, the long strands of fertilized eggs anchor around submerged vegetation.  Eggs hatch quickly, depending on water temperature, and the newly emerged tadpoles swim around together.  They develop into toadlets within 70 days, at which time they leave the water for life on land.  The American toad uses its tongue to catch and eat a multitude of insects such as flies, crickets, grasshoppers, slugs, spiders, worms and slugs.  In fact, most of its prey is classified as agricultural pests.  Toads are eaten by raccoons, snakes, hawks and herons.  Unlike the poisonous cane toad (native to South America), the American toad is not dangerous to dogs; nevertheless, rinse your dog’s mouth thoroughly if it foams after picking up a toad.  Lastly, don’t worry:  you cannot catch warts from touching a toad!

Article & photo by Margie Manthey

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