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American Toad Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Bufo americanus
  • Class

  • Order

  • Range

    This species is found widely throughout the eastern half of the United States and Canada, ranging from Quebec to Alabama.

  • Status

    American toads are common in their range.

  • Habitat

    American toads occupy a wide range of habitats, including forests, farms and even backyards. Eggs and tadpoles require freshwater ponds and pools in which to grow.

  • Niche

    Tadpoles feed on aquatic algae, and adults use their long, sticky tongues to snare insect prey. The species is nocturnal and spends much of the day hiding under rocks, logs and leaves. American toads are most active during warm weather; in cold climates, they will hibernate through winter in burrows.

  • Life History

    American toads are solitary, coming together to breed. Males establish territories near ponds and attract mates with long, frequent calls. Breeding occurs with the male gripping the female tightly and fertilizing her eggs as she releases them into the water. Tadpoles hatch within 3–12 days, spending 40–70 days in the water before transforming into adults and moving to land.

  • Special Adaptations

    • American toads defend themselves against predators, such as snakes, by excreting a toxic, milky substance from the skin. They will also urinate on themselves if threatened. As a last resort, the toads can inflate their bodies to prevent being swallowed.
    • American toads periodically shed their skin as they grow. The old skin is gathered at the mouth as it sheds and is swallowed to retain nutrients!


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