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Eastern American Toad Bufo americanus americanus


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Eastern American Toad
credit: Scrumshus

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Family: Bufonidae, Toads view all from this family

Description 2-4 3/8" (5.1-11.1 cm). A large, plump toad. Parotoid glands elongate, not touching prominent cranial crests (sometimes connected by spur). Brown to brick-red to olive, with various patterns in lighter colors; sometimes light stripe down midback. Spots brownish, warts brown to orange-red; 1 or 2 warts in each dark spot on back. Belly usually spotted. Male has dark throat. Snout rounded.

Warning Toads have enlarged glands (called the paratoid glands) on the side of the neck, one behind each eye. These glands secrete a viscous white poison that gets smeared in the mouth of any would-be predator, inflaming the mouth and throat and causing nausea, irregular heart beat, and, in extreme cases, death. Toads pose a danger to pets, which may pounce on and bite them. Humans should take care to wash their hands after handling a toad, and to avoid touching the mouth or eyes until having done so.

Voice A pleasant musical trill lasting up to 30 seconds.

Breeding March to July. Eggs in dark strings, attached to vegetation.

Habitat Wide variety of moist, insect-rich habitats from lawns and gardens to heavily forested mountains to ponds and lakes.

Range In Canada from se. Manitoba to James Bay and Labrador, south in the east through the Maritime Provinces, New England, and the Appalachian Mountains to c. Georgia and Louisiana; north through Tennessee and Kentucky, west through Indiana to ne. Kansas, and north to Canada.

Discussion The Eastern American Toad is much more widespread than its diminutive relative the Dwarf American Toad (B. a. charlesmithi), which is found from southern Indiana and western Tennessee to southeastern Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.