Native Frogs to USA (Part 1)

Today is the first day of our journey across the US.  We will start at a good ole’ American Toad and see where the journey leads us.

A. americanus – American Toad

Anaxyrus_americanus_-_American_toad.jpgImage from Wikimedia Commons


Lifespan- Capable of living 10+ years, however most toads don’t live longer and a year or two due to predators.

Description-The color of the American Toad varies quite a bit from yellow to brown to black and from solid colors to speckled.  This color varies due to many factors, but most notably stress, habitat colors, humidity & temperature.

american toad range.jpg

Image from ICUNRedList

The American Toad is mainly nocturnal and are most active when the weather is warm and humid.  The American toad has a large geographic range compared to some amphibians so hopefully you can get a chance to experience these fellas.  During the winter, the toad will burrow deep into the ground below the frost line.  The toads will dig deeper as the frost line gets deeper.

American Toad closeup.jpg

Photo by Indiana Nature

People can not get warts from handling toads, however toads will release fluid from their paratoid glands which can be harmful if it gets digested or in your eyes.  It has been my finding that most American Toads will pee when they are picked up as well.  So make sure to wash your hands after handling them.  (1) (2) (3)

A. fowleri – Fowler’s Toad


Image from Wikimedia Commons

Description-The Fowler’s toad is usually brown, grey, olive green and rust red in color with darkened warty spots.  As these toads become adults, a pale stripe will form down its back.  The belly is usually whiteish with one dark spot.

This toad has a long, loud, nasal W-A-A-A-H-H-H call.  It is said that they can be mistaken for a herd of sheep calling in the night.  The Fowler’s toad will make a series of quick, short hops as the American toad will make a few larger hops.


Here is the range for the Fowler’s Toad.  A good portion of the range is overlapping with the American toad which allows for confusion between the two.

fowler toad range

Image from ICUNRedList

The fowler’s toad will amplexus in May & June.  The female can release 7,000 -10,000 fertilized eggs which will hatch 2-7 days later.  (1) (2)

A. terrestris – Southern Toad


Image from Wikimedia Commons


Description-  The Southern Toad’s coloring varies from brown to black to red.  Several dark spots are normally present near the back and upper sides.  They have high cranial crests with pronounced knobs, located between & behind their eyes.  These knobs help to distinguish the Southern Toads from the American & Fowler Toads.

These toads are nocturnal and like to bury in sandy and marshy areas.  The Southern’s skin is very water permeable, which has the potential to allow a lot of water to evaporate from the skin.  In order to combat dehydration, the Southern toad is able to store a lot of water in its bladder and then reabsorb water as necessary.


Here is the range for the Southern toad.  As the name suggests, the southern toad can be found in the south.  This small range still allows for some overlap between the Southern, American & Fowler which does cause confusion.


Image from ICUNRedList


The Southern toad’s call is a high pitched rapidly pulsed trill lasting around 2-3 seconds long.  (1) (2) (3)


All 3 of these frogs are listed in the ICUN redlist database as least concern.  These toads are all common to see throughout their ranges, even with habitat disruptions.  However, the Southern toad has been uncommon in areas where you can find the Cane Toad.


Happy Groundhogs Day!

With the groundhog not seeing his shadow and an anticipated early spring, the toads can relax and know that they can come out of their burrow earlier!  They will be so happy!


Have you seen any of these toads where you live?  Please leave a comment & where you live if you have!


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8 thoughts on “Native Frogs to USA (Part 1)

  1. i have been following the frogs of minnesota through the minnesota volunteer for many years. i also study native frogs in victoria australia and carry out studies on local frogsincluding talks to schools
    love your page and looking for new ideas for displays etc

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