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Western Toad

Toads are nocturnal amphibians who roam overland looking for insects. They are most active at night because the daytime heat would dry them out. During the day, they hide under logs, boards, rocks, burrows of their own construction, or in rodent burrows. They get around mostly by walking, rather than hopping like frogs do. They will hop to escape danger.

Tracks are often indistinct, unless they are found in soft mud. Usually the tips of the toes leave round dots and drag marks in the sand. The drag marks point in the direction of travel.

Western toads have dry, warty skin and a light stripe down the back. They often travel far from sources of water, although they do require water for breeding.

In the soft sand of river bars, the drag marks from the hind toes are very prominent.

They breed between January and September. Long strings of eggs in a jelly-like substance are attached to vegetation in still, shallow water. The tadpoles emerge from the eggs and live in the shallows feeding on vegetation until they lose their tails and metamorphose into toads.

If you handle toads or other amphibians, remember that insect repellents, sunscreens, and other substances on your hands can damage their delicate, sensitive skin. You will not get warts from toads.

Click here to see drawings of toad tracks.

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Revised: 29 August 1997
Written by Kim A. Cabrera
Copyright © 1997 Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association