American Toad Dossier

by Carl Strang

It has been a while since I have shared one of my dossiers. The idea, which I began in the 1980’s, is to make a written record of everything I have learned about a species from personal experience. Some dossiers have grown to be relatively large over the years. Others, like this one, have remained small.

Toad 2b

American Toad

Terrestrial most of year, in wooded areas, hunting for insects at night, catching them with long-thrown, sticky tongue. Sing in numbers in ponds in spring, song a trill. Sings later than chorus frogs, spring peepers and wood frogs. Smaller males ride on females’ backs, clasping with forearms. Eggs laid in long strings, hatch into tiny black tadpoles which develop in a few weeks into tiny toads that disperse, sometimes in great numbers, into the surrounding landscape. Common near home in Culver when I was a child. Once the dog grabbed one but spit it out and showed distress, salivating excessively afterwards.

10MY87. Singing at McKee Marsh.

30AP88. Singing at McKee Marsh.

12-13MY99. Singing at Willowbrook.

30AP00. I can hear them singing from the house on Briarwood, Warrenville.

21AP01. First of year singing, heard from the house. On 22nd, also, many singing at Pratts Wayne Woods.

13JE06. Tri-County State Park. Chorus frogs and American toads have resumed singing after heavy recent rains have raised water levels, here and at Fermilab for chorus frogs, and here and at Fullersburg for toads.

21MY09. Mayslake. A toad moving through the savanna, mid-day. Earlier in the season several sang in the marsh just west of the stream, but only there on the preserve.

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