Amphibians

Two toads in water with debris floating on the surface.

The Sonoran Desert Toad is also known as the Colorado River Toad.

NPS photo

Throughout their life cycle, amphibians live on both land and water. Young are usually born in water and spend the early part of their life cycle there. As they grow, their bodies change through a process called metamorphosis. Gills necessary for breathing in water transform into air-breathing lungs, and young amphibians lose their aquatic tail in favor of strong legs for swimming and jumping. Now these juveniles are ready to live on the land!

The Sonoran Desert is dry and very hot – not a place where one might expect wet-skinned amphibians! Torrents of summer monsoon rain summon toads from their underground burrows where they spend most of the year. On July nights, hundreds of toads can be found breeding in temporary pools. Saguaro National Park amphibians include Couch's spadefoot, leopard frogs, and the canyon treefrogs which live year-round in small water sources such as rock pools and springs.

 

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