American Toad

From Ohio History Central

The American toad (Bufo americanus) is nocturnal and can be found through Ohio where there is moisture -- from urban yards to woodlands. The 2 - 3.5 inch long amphibian comes in a variety of colors, but is most commonly brown. There are dark blotches all over its body. Inside the blotches are 1-2 "warts" These warts are actually glands that produce a foul tasting liquid, protecting them from predators. Ohio's Fowler's toad is very similar except this toad has 3 or more "warts" inside each dark spot.

After coming out of hibernation in March, the male American toad will sit in shallow water and call to attract females. The breeding period lasts from March to July. After mating, the female will lay 12 - 15,000 eggs in tubes that form a string in the water. The eggs will hatch in 3-12 days. The tadpole stage is just the beginning of metamorphosis. After a few months, thousands of small toads exit the water to live on land. The life expectancy of a toad is five to ten years; the maximum is thirty years.

Toads are very beneficial to have around because of being insectivorous. The average toad will eat up to 3,000 insects a month. In addition to insects, their diet includes earthworms and slugs. The toad does not drink water, but absorbs it through its skin.

Its importance to humans dates back to prehistoric times, including images of toads on Hopewell effigy pipes.

See Also