WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE

The American toad (see 1st picture again) is a large toad. Its body can be as long as 110 mm. On top they are usually brown, but can be gray or even brick red. There are lots of darker patches on the back. They also have lots of little bumps called warts. (These aren't like the warts that people get.) Underneath they are light gray with small dots of gray or brown.

Look-alikes: An American toad looks a lot like a Canadian or a great plains toad. The Canadian toad has a large flat bump on the top of its head between its eyes. It also has larger warts and has only 1 to 3 warts in the dark spots on its back. The American toad has no bump between its eyes and has 3 or more small warts in the spots on its back. The great plains toad has larger patches on its back than the other two kinds.


NAME

This is the most common toad in eastern North America, so it is called the American toad.


WHERE IT LIVES

American toads live in forests near lakes or wetlands. They are found in eastern North America. In Manitoba they can be found east of Lake Winnipeg as far north as the north end of Lake Winnipeg.

Where it lives in Manitoba.


HABITS

These toads are active at night and rest during the day under rocks, logs or leaves on the forest floor. They come out at night to hunt for food. They are active from May to October. In late autumn they dig deep into soft ground and spend the winter sleeping there. They dig with their back feet and must go down deep enough so the ground will not freeze.


FOOD WEB

American toads eat insects and other small animals without backbones. Their main food is insects that crawl on the ground like beetles and ants.

Adult toads taste bad and can make some animals sick if they eat one. So most birds and mammals won't eat them. Snakes are their main enemies. Large water bugs and wading birds will eat the tadpoles.


LIFE CYCLE

American toads mate and lay their eggs in May. They will breed in ponds filled by melting snow or in small year-round ponds.

Mating call of the American toad:
(with some boreal chorus frogs, too)

Toad eggs are laid in a long string instead of in a ball like frog eggs. A large female toad can lay more than 1000 eggs. The eggs hatch in 3 to 4 days. The tadpoles change into toadlets by July after 40 to 50 days as tadpoles. The new toadlets are only about 10 mm long.


NUMBERS

American toads are very common in southeastern Manitoba. There can be more than 50 toads in one hectare of forest.


SPECIAL THINGS

American toads have bad tasting liquid in their skin. This squeezes out if they are attacked. It can make some animals sick so this helps to protect the toads.

Toads have hard bumps on their back feet, like little shovels, to help them dig into the ground.


USE BY PEOPLE

Toads aren't used much by people. Some people think you can get warts from touching toads, but that is not true. Many people like to have toads in their yards or gardens to eat insects.