Canadian Toad

Canadian Toad

Western Toad

Anaxyrus hemiophrys

This page may contain affiliate links.
Read our disclosure and privacy policy here.

The Canadian Toad, also known as the Western Toad, is an amphibian found in western parts of North America. It inhabits diverse habitats such as forests, grasslands, and wetlands, and can often be found near water bodies. During the breeding season, males produce a distinctive call to attract females.  Canadian Toads have relatively long lifespans compared to other amphibians. In the wild, they can live up to 10-15 years, and some individuals have been known to reach even older ages. Their longevity allows them to play an important role in their ecosystems over an extended period, contributing to nutrient cycling and serving as a food source for various predators.

Canadian Toad

Common Name
Canadian Toad

Other Names

Western Toad

Latin Name

Anaxyrus hemiophrys

Distribution

AB, NWT, SK, MB

Appearance

It is a medium-sized toad with a robust body and warty skin. The coloration of the Canadian Toad varies, but it typically ranges from brown to olive or gray, often with dark spots or patches.

Size

Adult males: 7 to 10 centimeters (2.8 to 3.9 inches) in length. Females are slightly larger: 8 to 13 centimeters (3.1 to 5.1 inches).

Habitat

Canadian Toads can be found in western parts of North America, including western Canada and the western United States. They inhabit a variety of habitats, including forests, grasslands, wetlands, and mountainous regions. They are often found near water bodies like streams, ponds, and marshes, where they breed and lay their eggs.

Behavior

Canadian Toads are primarily active during the night. During the day, Canadian Toads often seek shelter and protection by burrowing into the ground or hiding in cool, moist places. They can dig into loose soil or find existing burrows created by other animals. In colder climates, Canadian Toads hibernate during the winter months. They find a secure place, such as under rocks, logs, or in deep burrows, to protect themselves from freezing temperatures. During this time, their metabolism slows down, and they rely on stored energy reserves to survive until spring.

Diet

Canadian Toads are primarily nocturnal and feed on a variety of small invertebrates. Their diet includes insects like beetles, ants, spiders, and earthworms. As sit-and-wait predators, they use their long, sticky tongue to catch their prey with lightning-fast strikes.

Lifecycle

Breeding for Canadian Toads typically occurs in the spring and early summer, usually after heavy rainfall. During this time, males gather at breeding sites and produce a distinct call to attract females. After mating, the female lays long strings of eggs in shallow water. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, which undergo metamorphosis over several weeks. Eventually, they develop limbs and absorb their tail, transforming into juvenile toads that venture onto land.

Vocalization

During the breeding season, male Canadian Toads produce a unique and distinctive call to attract females. Their call is a high-pitched trill or a long musical note that can be heard from a distance.

Defense Mechanisms

The Canadian Toad can secrete toxins from its skin glands. These toxins act as a defense mechanism, deterring predators from attempting to eat the toad. It is important to note that these toxins can be harmful or even deadly to certain predators and should not be handled by humans. Canadian Toads also have excellent camouflage that helps them blend into their surroundings. When threatened or cornered, Canadian Toads can adopt defensive postures to protect themselves. They may puff up their bodies to appear larger, arch their backs, and raise their hind legs to reveal bright warning colors, such as the bright orange or red patches on their undersides.

Ecological Importance

The Canadian Toad plays a significant role in its ecosystem by feeding on insects, slugs, and other small invertebrates. It helps control populations of potential pests and serves as a food source for larger predators. Conservation efforts are in place to protect the habitats of the Canadian Toad and promote its overall well-being.

Conservation Status

The Canadian Toad faces several conservation challenges, including habitat loss, pollution, and road mortality. Wetland destruction and urban development can impact their breeding and foraging habitats. Efforts are being made to protect their habitats, create wildlife corridors, and raise awareness about the importance of conserving these unique amphibians.
Let's Go Avocado Team

There’s a lot to explore right where we are, in our own neighborhoods and backyards! Join us while we get off the couch and explore the everyday wonders of nature, science, space, engineering, art, and anything else we stumble upon during on our adventures.

More Posts: