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Species Description

American Toad

Bufo americanus


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Classification

Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Bufonidae

Description

May be brown, light brown, reddish brown, or gray. The belly is white with dark gray mottling. Large black or dark brown spots on the back usually encircle one or two brown, yellow, or reddish warts. 50 - 102 mm (2 - 4 in) in total length.

Life Cycle

The American Toad breeds in late February and March. Males congregate in rain-filled woodland pools, shallow upland streams, or roadside ditches, and begin calling to attract females. The call is a high-pitched, musical trill. When a female approaches, the male clasps her behind the front legs as the pair floats in the water. The female releases 2,800 to 20,500 eggs in long, double strings which the male fertilizes as they are released. In about one week, the eggs hatch into tiny black tadpoles. The tadpoles grow until they metamorphose into tiny toads by mid to late May. The young reach adult size by autumn and breed the following spring. The American Toad prefers rocky, wooded areas, but also lives in forested bottomlands, forest edges, coniferous forests, and even in lawns and gardens. It forages for earthworms and insects at night. During the day it hides under logs, rocks, and leaf litter. This toad is most active from February through November. A major predator of toads is the Eastern Hognose Snake.

Range

American Toad Region Map The American Toad is found throughout the forested eastern United States, but is absent from the southern Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain. In Georgia, this toad occurs in the Piedmont and mountains.

Conservation Status

This is a common species in Georgia.

Similar Species

The Southern Toad has very pronounced knobs on the posterior ends of the cranial crests between its eyes. The Fowler's Toad has an unspotted belly and three or more warts in each of the large dark spots on the back.