Western toads are a large and robust toad with dry, warty skin. Adults can vary in length from 2-5 inches (snout to vent) and vary in color from green, tan, reddish brown, dusky gray and yellow. Toads can be distinguished by a white stripe running down the middle of their back. Males generally have smoother skin than females.
Large schools of tadpoles often feed in shallow water. Tadpoles are dark brown, and grow to about 1 inch in length before metamorphosis. Tadpoles enter metamorphosis in 30 - 45 days, usually in late summer or early fall. When in the process of metamorphosis, many tadpoles are often seen in aggregations at the edge of a pond. Large numbers of newly-transformed toads are often seen hopping around the shores of breeding water. Juvenile toads may either stay and spend the winter, or disperse to nearby sites.