- Genus/Species: Bufo americanus
- Conservation Status: Least Concern
- Location: The northern part of North America
The Farmer’s Friend
American toads can live almost everywhere, ranging from forests to backyards. They adapt very well to their surroundings, as long as there is a source of water for them to use in the breeding season. American Toads have short legs, stout bodies and thick skins with noticeable warts. These warts can be colored red and yellow. The warty skin contains many glands that produce a poisonous milky fluid, providing these toads with excellent protection from their enemies. American Toads are active mainly at night and when the weather is warm and humid. During the day they hide under rocks or logs, or dig into dead leaves and soil.
American Toads are about four and a half inches long- about as long as a child’s palm. They eat insect as well as snails, beetles slugs and earthworms. Unlike most toads, which wait for prey to come along and pounce on it, American Toads can shoot out their sticky tongues to catch prey. They also may use their front legs in order to eat larger food. They grasp their food and push it into their mouths
American Toads are not endangered. In fact, they are responsible for controlling the populations of many kinds of insects. For this reason, they are widely considered friends to gardeners and farmers. The toxins produced by their skin may also eventually prove useful in medical research. So though the American Toad is not beautiful, it is certainly a very useful creature.
Did You Know?
- Contrary to folk-belief, you will not get warts if you touch a toad. However, the chemicals in toad skin are toxic to humans, so it is important to wash one's hands carefully after handling one.
- American Toads have one of the most notable calls of all toads. They give off long trilling sounds and when they call, their throats puff out like large, inflatable balloons.
- American toads use body postures, touch and chemical scents to communicate with one another.
One American toad can eat up to 1,000 insects every day.