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American Toad

Great Plains Toad

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Canadian Toad

Canadian Toad

What it looks like

The Canadian Toad is a medium sized toad. Its body can be as long as 8 cm. Their colour is brown with lots of darker and lighter patches on the back. They have lots of little bumps called warts on their backs. Underneath they are light gray with many small dots of gray or brown.

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A Canadian Toad looks a lot like an American and a Great Plains Toad. The Canadian Toad has a large flat bump on the top of its head between its eyes. It usually has 3 or more small warts in the dark spots on its back. The American Toad has no bump between its eyes and usually only 1 larger wart in the patches on its back. The Great Plains Toad has much larger patches on its back than the other two kinds.


People once thought that this toad and the American Toad were the same kind of toad. Now we know they are different kinds. This one is called the Canadian Toad because it is one of the most common toads in western Canada.

Scientific Name

The Canadian Toad's scientific name is Anaxyrus hemiophrys. Learn what that means on this page: Scientific Names.

Where it lives

Canadian Toads mainly live in grasslands or meadows near lakes or wetlands. They live in the northern prairie regions of North America. In Manitoba they can be found west of Lake Winnipeg as far north as the north end of Lake Winnipeg.

Where Canadian Toads live in North America.


In warmer weather these toads are most active at night. In cooler weather they are active during the day as the sun warms the ground. In late autumn they dig deep into soft ground using their back feet and spend the winter there below where the frost can reach.

Food Web

Canadian Toads eat insects and other small invertebrates. Their main food is insects that crawl on the ground like beetles and ants.

Adult toads taste bad to most birds and mammals so they usually don't eat them. Snakes are their main enemies. Large water bugs and wading birds will eat the tadpoles.

Life Cycle

Canadian Toads mate and lay their eggs in May. They use ponds filled by melting snow or small year-round water bodies.

Hear the Canadian Toad mating call:
With some Boreal Chorus Frogs, too.

Their eggs are laid in a long string instead of in a ball like frog eggs. A large female toad can lay more than 500 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 1 cm long.

A Canadian Toad toadlet that could sit on a finger nail.


Canadian Toads are very common in southern Manitoba. There can be more than 50 toads in one hectare of forest.

Special Things

Canadian 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.

How to Find Canadian Toads

Listen for males calling in mid to late May. The best time to hear them is evening, but they may call throughout the day. Toads are most active at night. Look for them at night with a flashlight in open areas near wetlands.

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.

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