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History of Toad - History

History of Toad - History


History of Toad - History

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Toad, any squat, rough-skinned, tailless amphibian of the order Anura, and especially a member of the family Bufonidae. The true toads (Bufo), with more than 300 species, are found worldwide except in Australia, Madagascar, polar regions, and Polynesia, though Bufo marinus has been introduced into Australia and some South Pacific islands. Besides Bufo, the family includes 30 genera, one of which (Nectophrynoides) contains one of the few anuran genera to bear live young.

A brief treatment of toads follows. For full treatment, see Anura.

Harlequin frogs, which are also known as variegated toads (Atelopus), are found in South and Central America. They are commonly triangular-headed and have enlarged hind feet. Some are brightly coloured in black with yellow, red, or green. When molested, the small poisonous Melanophryniscus stelzneri of Uruguay bends its head and limbs over its body to display its bright orange hands and feet. This position may be a method of warning the intruder of the toxicity of the toad.

True toads, of which the American toad (Bufo americanus) and the European toad (B. bufo) are representative, are stout-bodied with short legs that limit them to the characteristic walking or hopping gait. Their size ranges from about 2 to 25 cm (1 to 10 inches). The thick, dry, often warty skin on the back is generally mottled brown. Poison-secreting glands are located on the back and in the warts but are most concentrated in two prominent raised areas behind the eyes, the parotid glands.

The poison, which is secreted when the toad is molested, irritates the eyes and mucous membranes of many, though not all, predators. The poisons of the Colorado River toad (B. alvarius) and the giant toad (B. marinus, also called the cane toad) affect animals as large as dogs, in some instances causing temporary paralysis or even death. The Chinese have long used dried toad poison to treat various ailments. Contrary to popular belief, toads do not cause warts.

True toads are mainly terrestrial and nocturnal. They frequently remain in fairly small areas, feeding on whatever insects or small animals they can catch with their sticky tongues. Most remain in their burrows in winter and during drought. They breed in water and may migrate 1.5 km (1 mile) or more to a suitable breeding pond. The eggs (600 to over 30,000, depending on species) are laid in two long jelly tubes. The tadpoles hatch in a few days and transform into adults in one to three months.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Richard Pallardy, Research Editor.


Toad's Place

The building, located on York Street down the street from Ashley's Ice Cream and Blue State Coffee and across an alley from Mory's Temple Bar, was the original location of the Yale Co-op. During the 1960s, it was a popular restaurant called Hungry Charlie's and then the location of Caleb's Tavern. In 1974, Michael Spoerndle, formerly a student at the Culinary Institute of America, rented the building for a French and Italian restaurant, which opened in March 1975. He named it Toad's Place, after a childhood joke. He said, "When my parents were going out to dinner, they would tell me they were going to such-and-such, and I thought it would be funny if they said, 'We're going to Toad's Place.' Plus, people who didn't go out and stayed at home, we'd call them 'toads.' It was the equivalent of a couch potato." [1] In 1976, Spoerndle turned the restaurant into a live music venue, [2] working with a local musician named Peter Menta to bring in bands. Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Koko Taylor were some of the first performers. [1] In 1976, Brian Phelps joined as manager and eventually co-owner. Phelps took control in 1995, after Spoerndle's numerous problems with alcohol and drug addiction. [2] Spoerndle died on May 6, 2011. [3] [4]

In 1983, a second location opened in Waterbury, Connecticut, although it lasted only three years. In 2007, a franchise location in Richmond, Virginia opened with a concert by the Squirrel Nut Zippers. It included a restaurant and club for up to 1,500 visitors. [5] The principal owner was Charles Joyner, a local physician who was a disc jockey at Toad's Place while he was a Yale undergraduate in the 1980s. On 9 March 2009, Toad's Place Richmond was closed. [6] All scheduled shows were canceled and/or moved to The National, another venue in Richmond. A third location was planned for Trenton, New Jersey. [7]

Jeff Lorber, a jazz keyboardist, included an instrumental piece called Toad's Place on his album Water Sign. [7] Through mutual friends, singer Rob Zombie met future wife, actress Sheri Moon, at Toad's in 1989. They married on Halloween of 2002.

Date Band Notes
July 10, 1980 Billy Joel Billy Joel recorded the song "Los Angelenos" from his album Songs in the Attic at Toad's Place.
December 14, 1980 U2 U2 played during the second leg of the Boy tour. This was only their eighth tour date in North America.
May 27, 1981 U2 U2 played during the fourth leg of the Boy tour. This was their first public performance of the song Fire. [8]
November 15, 1981 U2 U2 played during the second leg of the October tour.
April 2, 1984 Allan Holdsworth Allan played tracks from the upcoming album Metal Fatigue
February 13, 1989 Dream Theater According to the "I Can Remember When" documentary taken from the When Dream and Day Reunite bootleg, Dream Theater played there during the When Dream and Day Unite tour. [9]
April 24-5, 1989 Cyndi Lauper The April 24 concert was the second one on the A Night to Remember tour. Earlier that evening, Brian Phelps (owner of Toad's Place) took Cyndi Lauper to dinner at Mory's Temple Bar, where the Whiffenpoofs serenaded her with an a capella performance of her song Time After Time. She invited them to join her onstage the next day. [10]
August 12, 1989 The Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones played a surprise hour-long concert for 700 people at Toad's Place. They had been rehearsing for the Steel Wheels tour for six weeks at the Wykeham Rise School, a girls' school in Washington, Connecticut that had closed earlier that year, and performed the concert as "a thank-you to Connecticut for the hospitality." [11]
January 12, 1990 Bob Dylan Bob Dylan started a tour with a Toad's Place performance including four sets that lasted over five hours, his longest show to date. It was his first club performance in 25 years. [1]
January 24, 2002 Slayer Original drummer Dave Lombardo performs with the group for the first time since 1992.
March 17, 2005 The Black Crowes The concert was called "Mr. Crowes Garden" and was one of five tour dates at small Northeastern clubs. The concerts were intended as a warm-up for their 2005 tour, after not having toured for almost four years. [12]

In September 2002, Toad's Place was fined $25,000 and closed for a week after underage drinkers were found on the premises. In May 2007, it closed for ninety days, after a November 5, 2005 inspection by the state Liquor Control Commission found 142 underage drinkers were present. The owner paid a fine of $90,000 in addition to the ninety-day closure. It reopened on August 4, 2007 with a concert by Badfish, a Sublime tribute band. [13]


Frogs, Toads and Human History

I recently volunteered with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources as a citizen scientist. My assignment was to assist with the department’s annual Frog and Toad Survey. The Michigan Frog and Toad Survey began in 1988 with the goal of monitoring the abundance and distribution of anuran populations. Every year the survey collects data from over 800 locations throughout the state. The data is aggregated into one of four state zones (1. southern lower peninsula, 2. northern lower peninsula, 3. eastern upper peninsula and 4. western upper peninsula). My contributions applied to zone 1, Calhoun County.

The name “anurans” refers to an order of amphibians. Amphibians are a class of vertebrate animals that live in aquatic and terrestrial environments. Amphibians include a variety of salamanders (Caudata) and limbless worm-like creatures of the Gymnophiona order. All members of the amphibian class can breathe and absorb water through their skin.

Image: Bufo americanus americanus (Eastern American Toad). Member of the Bufonidae family
Photo courtesy of Professor Mark Wilson

The species of interest in the Michigan Frog and Toad Survey are all members of the Anura order of amphibians. Anurans are tailless amphibians that include frogs and toads. They represent the largest and most diverse group of amphibians. Worldwide, there are well over 5000 species of anurans contained in at least 28 family classifications. The terms “frog” and “toad” are not taxonomically well described and are often used interchangeably. Most commonly, anurans with smooth skin and long legs are referred to as frogs and those with rough, warty skins and shorter legs as toads. Scientifically, anurans of the Bufonidae family are considered the only true toads.

Fossil records indicate that the first modern anurans appeared on earth during the early Jurassic period, roughly 200 million years ago. Over the eons, frogs and toads persevered, even through massive extinction events. They survived immense worldwide volcanic eruptions, giant asteroid impacts, oxygen depletion, and changing climatic conditions. Anurans evolved the traits necessary to cope with earth’s natural disasters and have been able to sustain their populations for over 99.99992% of their existence as a species.

Recently though, anurans have encountered new threats for which evolution did not prepare them to survive. For decades, research has shown alarming declines in anuran populations throughout the world (1, 2, 3). In the United States, the U.S. Geological Survey reported that amphibian populations are decreasing by 3.7% per year. The current rate of amphibian loss is about 211 times higher than what normally occurred over their 200 million year history. In fact, today amphibians are dying at rates similar to the mass extinctions that killed the dinosaurs following the K-T Event about 65 million years ago.

It was only during the very last stage of the Holocene Epoch that humans became aware of amphibians dying in such prodigious numbers. We acquired knowledge of the declines because thousands of scientific studies were conducted over multiple decades. It is through research like the Michigan Frog and Toad Survey that enables our recognition of trends that unfold too slowly to be fully understood without careful and long-term data collection.

I joined the anuran study because of previous research that taught me about the value amphibians play in ecosystems. I knew that their unique qualities make them particularly sensitive to environmental degradation, and as such, the health and abundance of amphibian populations are useful indicators of overall environmental quality. Most importantly, I wanted to contribute to the critical work of protecting the earth’s biodiversity.

Extensive research and monitoring of amphibian populations have illuminated the primary causes of their declining numbers. Habitat loss, climate change, environmental contamination, disease, over-harvesting and invasive species are the root causes of most amphibian declines.

The causes of amphibian loss are very similar to the direct drivers responsible for overall reductions in planetary biodiversity. In addition to the direct drivers of biodiversity decline, the unsustainable expansion of the human population and over-dependence on economic growth (1,2,3), have had an indirect but powerful adverse impact on earth’s biodiversity. In all cases the evidence is clear, anthropogenic activities are highly influential on the unprecedented declines in biodiversity we are seeing today.

Species diversity provides an essential utilitarian purpose in maintaining the vital ecosystem services humans need to survive. Diversity plays a direct role in enabling crucial elements needed for human food supplies (1, 2, 3). Biodiversity is linked to cleaner air (1, 2), lower risk of zoonotic disease transmission (1, 2), increased carbon sequestration (1, 2) and therapeutic drug development (1, 2).

Along with the utilitarian values that service humans needs, there is also a moral component to protecting the diversity of life on earth. Many people recognize an intrinsic value that species possess. Intrinsic value exists separate from utilitarian value, it recognizes worth beyond just service to humans and our impulse for exploitation. Intrinsic value can not be conferred nor revocated by human whims. Biodiversity represents the totality of life sharing our world, the vast majority of which has existed long before human life emerged. All life on earth emerged from the exact same base ingredients and through the exact same biologic and geologic processes (1, 2, 3). Supporting the intrinsic value of other species is based on the acceptance of an ethical code and reverence for the events that breathed life into inorganic matter.

My work with Michigan Frog and Toad Survey gave me the unique opportunity to help expand knowledge about anuran population abundance. The study gave me a broader perspective on diversity within local frog and toad populations. Of the 13 different species native to Michigan, my observations detected only 7 unique species.

The survey also offered an opportunity for me to compare population colonies based on their exposure to urban and protected environments. Half of my observation sites were located within 219 acres of fragmented wetlands, completely surrounded by an urban area. The urban sites were defined as habitat that received direct inputs of anthropogenic disturbance (road runoff, yard runoff, noise and light pollution). The other half were located within a 300 acre protected nature park. The park is protected from motorized vehicle traffic, with no interior structures and limited sources of artificial light. There is a small amount of residential housing running along about 12.5% of the park’s perimeter. The survey data indicated that 59% of the unique species identified (species abundance) were located within the protected area. The protected sites also consistently demonstrated greater species diversity ( Figure 1 ). The colony comparison did not address causes for the abundance and diversity disparities, however, the findings are consistent with the anthropogenic drivers of biodiversity decline discussed previously.

As mentioned above, modern-day frogs and toads arose roughly 200 million years ago, but their distant Salientia ancestors were alive at least 50 million years earlier. Those early ancestors suddenly disappeared from fossil records, possibly succumbing in large numbers to the “great dying” of the Permian–Triassic extinction event. There have been at least five major mass extinctions throughout earth’s history and there is strong evidence that today, we are in the midst of a sixth mass extinction. Interestingly, the great die-offs occurring now are more unusual and historic than any in the past. Every previous extinction of life on earth came about through natural, uncontrollable events and unfolded without the slightest comprehension of any living creature alive at the time.

I volunteered for the Michigan Frog and Toad Survey not only because it allowed me to contribute to the long-term monitoring (and hopefully protection) of earth’s biodiversity, but also because it offered an opportunity to be part of an extraordinary moment in history. Like countless other research projects conducted over many decades, the frog and toad survey adds to a body of knowledge that is truly unprecedented in the context of geologic history.

After roughly 3.5 billion years of life emerging and repeatedly being extinguished, evolution produced a species that was capable of high-level communication, extraordinary collaboration and possessed profound cognitive abilities. Members of the Homo genus split off into several distinct species, one of which (Homo Sapiens) refined and enhanced their cognitive capabilities to ever more useful degrees. The new cognitive powers enabled Homo Sapiens to employ a never-before-seen ability, the capacity to communicate through discrete symbology. Symbolic thought morphed into creative rearrangements of expression and vocabulary and the capacity to document our experiences. The enhanced mental skills facilitated visualizations of abstract concepts and the talent to trial new scenarios and imagine alternate future outcomes.

It is only in the last 0.00012% of earth’s history that Homo Sapiens began the journey that led to what we know as civilization. From a geologic standpoint, our acquisition of knowledge and “intelligence” was an astonishingly recent event. Out of earth’s 4.5 billion-year history, it took roughly 4.49999984 billion years to produce a species able to obtain deep enough awareness of its surroundings and recognize the wave of mass extinctions going on all around them.

It is an improbable stroke of luck and privilege to be part of the human species at this time and place in history. The story of Homo Sapiens has been marked by the accumulation and dissemination of almost unimaginable knowledge and insight. Our species went from living in caves and foraging for food, to building skyscrapers and developing the technologies to manufacture food. We invented the scientific method, made amazing discoveries about ourselves and our surroundings. We unraveled many mysteries of the universe and landed people and robots on other planets. We developed an extensive understanding of the history of life on earth and an extraordinary ability to accurately predict the future. Most of humanity’s greatest insights came by way of scientific studies and through expanding on the emergent truths that follow reasoned inquiries.

As a species, humans were ordained with the capacity of internal and external awareness. We were granted the potential to acquire knowledge and insight. These extraordinary traits were bestowed exclusively on Homo Sapiens through a series of unlikely events that, to our knowledge, may never have occurred anywhere else in the entire universe.

I joined The Michigan Frog and Toad Survey to help carry on the incredible tradition of investigating our world and expanding human understanding of the environment around us. I joined to help protect biodiversity by utilizing Homo Sapien’s novel cognitive capabilities to prevent the earth’s first self-imposed species extinction. It would be an epic waste of remarkable and highly uncommon opportunity if we do not use the instruments that evolution gave us and the knowledge and insights we have gained to protect and preserve all the unique and interconnected forms of life living on this planet.


Like frogs, toads are amphibians. They differ from most frogs because they have dry skin, warts, crests behind the eyes, and parotoid glands. The parotoid glands produce a poisonous secretion that helps the toad defend itself from predators. This substance, called a bufotoxin, can cause death in small animals and allergic reactions in humans. Toads have other ways to avoid being eaten too. If they&rsquore brown or green in color, they can blend into their surroundings and escape detection. If brightly colored, they warn predators to stay away because they&rsquore poisonous. Toads also puff up their bodies in an attempt to look bigger and inedible if a predator is nearby.

The smallest North American toad is the oak toad (Bufo quercicus), which reaches a length of only 1.3 inches (3.3 centimeters). Cane toads (Rhinella marina) are the largest toads and grow up to 9 inches (23 centimeters) in length. But a massive cane toad caught in Australia, nicknamed &ldquoToadzilla,&rdquo has been described as the size of a small dog!

Many toad species live throughout the United States. Toads are found on every continent, excluding Antarctica. Adult toads generally prefer moist, open habitats like fields and grasslands. The American toad (Anaxyrus americanus) is a common garden species that eats harmful insects and can be seen in backyards in the Northeast. Predators of toads include snakes, raccoons, and birds of prey.

Like frogs, most toads eat insects and other arthropods. However, some species eat reptiles, small mammals, and even other amphibians.

Each species of toad has a unique call. Males use their call to attract females for mating or to keep other males away from their territory. After toad eggs are fertilized, most hatch into tadpoles before becoming fully grown adults. Instead of legs, tadpoles have tails for swimming and gills to breathe underwater. As time passes, the tail becomes smaller and smaller until it eventually disappears. At the same time, the tadpole grows legs and loses its gills. Once this metamorphosis stage is complete, the adult toad is ready to live a terrestrial lifestyle. Not all toads (or frogs) have a tadpole stage. However, all amphibians require an unpolluted source of water to reproduce. The common toad (Bufo bufo) lives up to 40 years, but most toad species live about 5 to 10 years.

Several toad species are federally listed as endangered or threatened. The biggest threats to toads are habitat degradation and invasive species.

Touching a toad will not cause warts—however, the bufotoxin found on its skin can cause irritation.

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, United States Geological Survey


Our History

One of our proudest moments comes in 1997 when we partner with Search, Inc. to co-found the Planet Access Company, a logistics warehouse that provides career opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities.
We kick things off with the Camping Pillow Program: Toad provides fleece scraps from production and Search clients sew the scraps into camping pillowcases to be shipped to outdoor stores across the country. All proceeds from the pillowcases go back to PAC to offer more career development opportunities and send crew members on much deserved vacations to the great outdoors.

By 1998, 100% of our inventory is being processed by the Planet Access Company. Today, PAC employs up to 70 adults with disabilities each year in paid, train-to-work opportunities. In 2000, Search for Adventure, a sister-program to PAC, officially gets off the ground. Proceeds from PAC and grants from Toad provide first-time outdoor adventure experiences for people with developmental disabilities. Since then, we&rsquove provided more than 80 trips to places like the Appalachian Trail, the Bahamas, New York City and annual trips to Toad&Co Headquarters in Santa Barbara, CA. Meeting the PAC crew and hearing their stories is always one of the highlights of our year.

The first decade of the 2000&rsquos goes by in a flash as we open storefronts in Freeport, ME and the Lizard Lounge in Portland, OR partner with visionary organizations like Telluride Mountainfilm Festival, the Conservation Alliance and the Outdoor Industry Association move our headquarters to Southern California and launch (arguably) the softest material of all time, Cashmoore®.

In 2010, Toad is named one of Outside Magazine&rsquos best places to work. With an office full of environmental evangelists and unashamed dog lovers, the Toads continue to practice what we preach: We participate in cleaning up public lands, volunteer with local disability awareness groups, and host our annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown in our backyard (now in its 5th year of cheesy, delicious competition). As a company, we become proud 1% for the Planet members, and purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for all of our Toad&Co locations. RECs offset our energy use by supporting the development of emission-free renewable energy and carbon reduction projects.

In 2015 we changed our name from Horny Toad to Toad&Co to better reflect our commitment to creating global change through meaningful partnerships. From our manufacturers to our retailers, we&rsquove committed to finding partners who work toward social and environmental progress. In the last 20 years, together we have helped to fund 120 environmental protection organizations, employed roughly 400 adults with disabilities, and sent 500 people on once-in-a-lifetime trips to the great outdoors. And we&rsquore just getting started.


Origin and History the Bufo Alvarius

The psychoactive effects of the secretions of different varieties of toads have been known for centuries. Bufo alvarius is a semi-aquatic amphibian that lives in the Sonoran desert of Mexico. Their cutaneous glands contain more than a dozen tryptamine compounds, including bufotenin and 5-MeO-DMT (5-methoxy-dimethyltryptamine), but do not contain DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine), the active principle present in ayahuasca. Bufotenin and 5-MeO-DMT are two powerful psychedelic substances.

The Bufo alvarius toad, whose correct name is Incilius alvarius, is native to the American continent. It can be found in the southern part of the Arizona desert in the USA and throughout most of the Sonoran desert in Mexico, even reaching Guamúchil, Sinaloa. It’s also known as the Colorado River toad, because it inhabits the areas surrounding this river in lower California, New Mexico, Mexico and southern Arizona.

It is found mostly in the lower parts of the Sonoran desert, at altitudes ranging from sea level to 1600m. In addition to the desert, B. alvarius inhabits pastures and oak forests, where it hides in rodent burrows.

As a nocturnal toad, during most of the months from September to April it stays underground in a state of hibernation. During the breeding season, which coincides with the rainy season, it becomes very active, especially at night, and hundreds of toads roam the desert.

Bufo alvarius have large parotid glands that secrete a viscous, milky-colored substance. It is this venom that contains psychoactive alkaloids.

Origin / History

Toads have always played an important role in the myths, legends, religions, medical practices and healing arts of different peoples throughout the history of mankind.

We find representations of toads that go back thousands of years. Some authors have suggested that Neanderthals used toad venom for hunting, divination and as an intoxicant.

There are myths and traditions related to toads throughout history in different parts of the world such as China, Tibet, Nepal, as well as Bolivia and Europe. Myths about the use of toads in witchcraft during the Middle Ages are widespread.

Several anthropologists suggest that one toad variety, Bufo marinus has been used in Mesoamerica since ancient times for its intoxicating properties. The hypothesis regarding the use of Bufo marinus, whose secretions, like those of other toads, mainly contain bufotenin, is based on the presence of many iconographic and mythological representations of toads in the Olmec, Mayan and Aztec cultures, dating from 2000 BCE. In the archaeological remains of the Olmec culture of San Lorenzo, Veracruz, Mexico, skeletal remains of Bufo species have been found dating from 1250-900 BCE. Aztec sculptures and representations place great emphasis on the parotid glands of the toads, which is where the psychoactive secretions are located.


Life History

Due to the rarity and semi fossorial nature of this species, little life history information exists. The Puerto Rican crested toad was first described in 1868 by Cope. The crested toad was thought extinct from 1931 to 1967 until its rediscovery in the northern part of the island in Isabella and in 1974 was found in Quebradillas (Estremera, 1990). With the exception of two populations in Puerto Rico, known historic populations were represented by a small number of voucher specimens randomly collected up to the late 1970’s. The toad has not been seen on Virgin Gorda for over 30 years and the last specimen was collected there in 1964 (USFWS, 1992). In 1984, the southern population that exists today was discovered in Guánica Commonwealth Forest (Moreno, 1985) and in 1987, the crested toad was listed by the USFWS as a threatened species. By this time, the species had been reduced to two populations in Puerto Rico, one in the north at Quebradillas and one in the south at Guánica. Mitochondrial DNA analyses suggest that these two populations have been separated for up to 1 million years (CBSG, 2005).The toads were last seen in Quebradillas in 1991 and the only known toads left from this population exist in captivity. Population estimates at Guánica over the past 25 years have fluctuated from 300 to 3,000 individuals (Lentini, 2003 CBSG 2006 Canals, 2007 unpub, data).

Since 1984, data collected at the Guanica site show that reproduction events for the toad are sporadic, coinciding with heavy rain events with at least 5 cm (2 inches) of water accumulation. Breeding has been documented every month of the year except for March (Canals, 2007 unpub. data). Females are thought to lay eggs only once per year. After it rains, males gather at the temporary pond and call females. It is suspected that light rains (less than 7 inches) attract toads within 1-2 kilometers (1 mile) from the pond and heavier rains (7-13 inches) are sufficient to attract the entire breeding population from up to 3 kilometers (2 miles) (USFWS, 1992). During amplexus, the females lay long, black strands of eggs amongst vegetation. It has been reported that a single female can lay up to 15,000 eggs (Rivero, 1998). Shortly after, the females leave the pond and the males remain for 1 to 2 days before dispersing. Eggs hatch after 24 hours and the tadpoles metamorphose within 18-25 days. It has been reported that some toadlets were found as far as 4 linear kilometers (2.5 miles) from the breeding pond (USFWS, 1991).

A radiotelemetry study conducted by the Toronto Zoo in 1990, showed that post reproductive toads moved on average 125 m (410 feet) a night for the first four days and traveled a maximum distance of 2 k (3.2 miles). After the initial period of intense movement, toads moved no more than about 10 m (32 feet) (Johnson 1999). It was also observed that toads were capable of climbing vertical rock faces to seek shelter in holes within the limestone that were at least 45 cm (18 inches) above ground. Toads would often return to the same retreat they had previously used days before. Additional observations of PRCT toad refuge sites and defensive behavior (Pacheco and Barber, 2013) describe adult crested toads using the top of their heads to block entrance holes and using alternative refugia, such as abandoned bird and tarantula holes in soil, in addition to holes in karst rock. One toad mentioned was found in a hole on a steep slope as high as 2.13 meters above the ground (see photo below).

PRCT in abandoned hole

During a habitat characterization study conducted at Guanica National Forest, average microclimate temperatures for the toad ranged from 81 to 85 F and relative humidity levels varied from 66% to 83% (CBSG, 2005).

Diet studies for crested toads in the wild have not been completed. However, toads most likely feed on a variety of insects including abundant invertebrates found in leaf litter including ants and beetles. Tadpoles feed primarily on vegetation, but have been observed feeding on dead conspecifics, carcasses of anoles, scorpions and millipedes (Barber, personal observation).


Egg laying and hatching

Most frogs deposit their eggs in quiet water as clumps, surface films, strings, or individual eggs. The eggs may be freely suspended in the water or attached to sticks or submerged vegetation. Some frogs lay their eggs in streams, characteristically firmly attached to the lee sides or undersides of rocks where the eggs are not subject to the current. The large pond-breeding frogs of the genus Rana and toads of the genus Bufo apparently produce more eggs than any other anurans. More than 10,000 eggs have been estimated in one clutch of the North American bullfrog, L. catesbeianus. The habit of spreading the eggs as a film on the surface of the water apparently is an adaptation for oviposition in shallow temporary pools and allows the eggs to develop in the most highly oxygenated part of the pool. This type of egg deposition is characteristic of several groups of tree frogs, family Hylidae, in the American tropics—one of which, Smilisca baudinii, is known to lay more than 3,000 eggs. Frogs breeding in cascading mountain streams lay far fewer eggs, usually no more than 200.

The problem of fertilization of eggs in rapidly flowing water has been overcome by various modifications. Some stream-breeding hylids have long cloacal tubes so that the semen can be directed onto the eggs as they emerge. Some other hylids have huge testes, which apparently produce vast quantities of sperm, helping to ensure fertilization. Males of the North American tailed frog, Ascaphus truei, have an extension of the cloaca that functions as a copulatory organ (the “tail”) to introduce sperm into the female’s cloaca.

Males of at least three South American species of Hyla build basinlike nests, 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 inches) wide and 2 to 5 cm (1 to 2 inches) deep, in the mud of riverbanks. Water seeps into the basin, providing a medium for the eggs and young. Calling, mating, and oviposition take place in the nest, and the tadpoles undergo their development in the nest.

Some bufonoid frogs in Leptodactylidae and ranoid frogs in Ranidae and other families build froth nests. The small, toadlike leptodactylids of the genus Physalaemus breed in small, shallow pools. Amplexus is axillary, and the pair floats on the water as the female exudes the eggs, the male emits semen and kicks vigorously with his hind legs. The result is a frothy mixture of water, air, eggs, and semen, which floats on the water. This meringuelike nest is about 7.5 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) in diameter and about 5 cm (2 inches) deep. The outer surfaces exposed to the air harden and form a crust covering the moist interior in which the eggs are randomly distributed. Upon hatching, the tadpoles wriggle down through the decaying froth into the water.


Is the American toad a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore?

The adult American toads are carnivorous. However, the toad tadpoles are herbivorous and usually feed on aquatic vegetation and algae. The adults eat a wide variety of insects and other invertebrates. They usually feed on slugs, beetles, snails, and earthworms.

Is the American toad poisonous?

The warty glands on the skin of the American toads tend to produce a milky poisonous liquid. This liquid is only harmful if it goes into the eyes or is swallowed, it can make many animals sick.

Is the American toad toxic to dogs?

The poisonous secretions of the American toad can make many animals sick.

Can you keep an American toad as a pet?

While the American toads are not typical pets, you can keep them, if and when you know how to take care of them. Taking care would be important for these creatures.

How big do American toads get?

The American toads can range between 50 to 100 mm in size, though they usually are about 75 mm.

What do American toads eat?

The adult American toads are carnivorous. However, the toad tadpoles are herbivorous and usually feed on aquatic vegetation and algae. The adults eat a wide variety of insects and other invertebrates. They usually feed on slugs, beetles, snails, and earthworms.

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Watch the video: Evolution Of Toad 1985 - 2017 (January 2022).