Western Toad

Anaxyrus boreas

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Status

Special Concern (Federal)

Description

These toads have dry, bumpy, and olive green to red-brown skinned. The Western Toad has a distinctive white stripe down its back and a pale mottled underside. A large oval parotoid gland is behind each eye. Outside of the breeding period, toads spend 90% of their time on land.

Habitat

Forest
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Riparian
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Wetland
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The Western Toad will breed in various natural and artificial aquatic habitats — from the shallow margins of lakes to roadside ditches. It does not seem to matter if the sites have trees or shrubs, coarse woody debris, or emergent vegetation. During breeding season adult females lay their eggs communally in ponds, typically in the same location each year. Adult toads can be found in forested areas, and wet shrublands.

Threats

-Disease transmitted from invasive species (e.g. American Bullfrogs)
-Predation from invasive species (e.g. Non-native fish, American Bullfrogs)
-Stocking of wetlands/ponds with non-native fish
-Loss of wetland habitat through destruction and modification
-Wetland draining resulting in the drying up of temporary ponds
-Wetland 'choking' from invasive plants
-Use of pesticides and other water contaminants (or pollution)
-Habitat fragmentation, causing species isolation and an increasing risk of road mortality
-Livestock trampling and erosion of banks around wetlands
-Swimming pools with unprotected circulation pumps

You Can Help!

-Avoid releasing fish into ponds and remove introduced fish
-Protect natural wetlands from livestock and fish stocking
-Remove invasive frogs that may carry disease or be predacious (e.g. American Bullfrog)
-Reduce wetland exposure to contaminants and pollution (e.g. increase vegetation buffers)
-Protect remaining wetlands and terrestrial habitat (e.g. grasslands and forested areas)
-Conserve water - over irrigation lowers the water table, and dries up small ponds
-For swimming pools, install floating ramps for escape and pump filters to help keep amphibians from getting trapped

Photo: USNPS
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Photo:Alexis Friesen
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