Natural Area Preservation

American Toad

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Bufo americanus

Identifying Features

  • 2 to 4 inches long; brownish and warty-skinned.
  • Generally common, but has experienced recent local population declines.
  • Tolerates a wide variety of habitats.
  • Most active on rainy, humid evenings.
  • Remain buried in moist soil, leaf litter, and beneath logs or rocks.
  • Burrow deeply into soil during winter and prolonged dry periods and remain dormant until conditions improve.
  • Parotid glands produce whitish secretions which contain steroidal defenses.  Attacking predators may experience illness or death due to changes in heart function and blood pressure.


  • A long, steady trill lasting about 30 seconds.


  • Prefer to breed in shallow, temporary waters with little to moderate amounts of emergent and submergent vegetation.
  • Breeding sites include flooded fields, ditches, stock or ornamental ponds, open marshes, and backwaters.
  • Occurs in early April and late May and can last into June or July if temperatures are cooler.
  • Females lay from 2000 to over 20,000 eggs in loops on the bottom of the pond or backwater.


  • Eggs hatch in 2-14 days depending on water temperatures. 
  • Tadpoles often form large schools.
  • Tadpoles transform into frogs in 6-10 weeks; hundreds of young toads swarm near breeding ponds.
  • Few survive the 2-3 years required to reach sexual maturity.

Conservation Note

  • Fairly adaptable, local declines due to loss or degradation of breeding sites.

Habitat Type

  • Ephemeral wetlands.
  • Permanent wetlands.
  • Rivers and streams.
  • Forests.
  • Grasslands and savannas.
  • Caves and springs.
  • Agricultural areas.
  • Urban areas.

​​​​Natural Area Preservation
3875 E. Huron River Dr.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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Remy Long​
  Deputy Manager
Tina Stephens
  Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator
Becky Hand
  Stewardship Specialist
Michael Hahn
  Stewardship Specialist