Fowlers Toad (549)
November 21, 2017
ENDANGERED TOAD. The Fowlers toad is one of two species of toad found in Ontario, it has a look alike called “The American Toad”. There are several characteristics to distinguish the two, Our Fowlers toad has dark blotches on its back and within those blotches are 3-4 “warts”. Its belly is a solid white cream color, a male toad has a dark throat and a female toad has a white throat. But by far the most interesting part about these species of toads is that they are nocturnal which means every activity they are capable of doing, they do under the cover of night. They have a unique call that’s best described as a crying baby, and can last up to five seconds long.
The Fowlers toad is found throughout the North Eastern parts of North America. But due to habitat loss and degradation the Fowlers toad has been restricted to three localities in Canada: Rondeau, Long point, and Niagara. It prefers to inhabit beaches, dunes, sandy shorelines, back shore wetlands, and marshes along the shore of Lake Erie.
Breeding happens in permanent water bodies mainly marshes and any other shallow water bodies, these toads can migrate up too several hundred meters between breeding sites and there terrestrial habitats. The males will begin calling in April and will breed closer to or in in the month of May. Evening temperatures of 14 degrees Celsius are ideal mating temperatures; any cooler weather may interrupt the breeding season. Females are capable of laying up to 12000 eggs, and they lay their eggs not in groups or clusters like most toads and frogs, but in strands. Eggs will hatch in approximately 7 day from when they are laid, and in another 40-60 days the newly born tadpoles will grow in their habitats. Tadpoles will metamorphosis into “toad lets” less than a millimeter in size, where then they will emerge onto beaches and further develop into full grown toads and repeat the process with their own young.
These toads eat insects and small creature that live in the soil, such as worms and slugs. Although they have thrown in the food chain, they are prey to many other species such as birds, bull frogs, snakes, and pretty much any other large species looking for a quick snack. Depending on the size of the toad and the size of their meal, they only eat up to 1-3 bugs a day to stay healthy.
Some interesting facts about the fowlers toad is that it will sit at water’s edge to feed, cool off, and absorb water. Juvenile and adult toads will hibernate below the frost line and just above the water table in sand dunes during the fall and winter months. They take refuge in dunes and sandy beaches to conserve water, cool off, and avoid predators during their active seasons. The skin of the fowler’s toad has a distinct odor of unroasted peanuts.
Crowley, J. (2000). Figure 2f from: Irimia R, Gottschling M (2016) Taxonomic revision of Rochefortia Sw. (Ehretiaceae, Boraginales). Biodiversity Data Journal 4: e7720. https://doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.4.e7720. Fowlers Toad. doi:10.3897/bdj.4.e7720.figure2f
Mcgarry, K. (2014, July 17). Fowlers Toad. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://www.ontario.ca/page/fowlers-toad
Wake Audubon Blog. (n.d.). Retrieved November 24, 2017, from http://wakeaudubon.org/creature-feature-fowlers-toad-bufo-anaxyrus-fowleri/