Boreal Toad

Two toads nestled together in water

The boreal toad is the only toad species confirmed to breed in Yellowstone National Park.

Jay Fleming

 

Scientific Name

Bufo boreas boreas

Identification

  • Yellowstone's only toad species which is confirmed to breed in the park.
  • Adults range up to about 4 inches; juveniles just metamorphosed from tadpoles are only one inch long.
  • Stocky body and blunt nose.
  • Brown, gray, or olive green with irregular black spots, lots of "warts", and usually a white or cream colored stripe down the back.
  • Tadpoles are usually black and often congregate in large groups.

Habitat

  • Once common throughout the park, now appear to be much rarer than spotted frogs and chorus frogs; scientists fear this species has experienced a decline in ecosystem.
  • Adults can range far from wetlands because of their ability to soak up water from tiny puddles or moist areas.
  • Lay eggs in shallow, sun-warmed water, such as ponds, lake edges, slow streams, and river backwaters.

Behavior

  • Tadpoles eat aquatic plants; adults eat insects, especially ants and beetles, worms, and other small invertebrates.
  • Sometimes active at night.
  • Defends itself against predators by secreting an irritating fluid from numerous glands on its back and behind its eyes.
  • Eaten by snakes, mammals, ravens, and large wading birds.
 

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