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Frog Friday: Fowler’s Toad


An image of an arial view of a toad

A fowler’s toad viewed from above © Jeff Beane

On this Frog Friday we present a frog that is commonly found hanging out on sandy beaches next to rivers and lakes: Fowler’s Toad. This toad appears similar to the American toad, but is smaller and can be distinguished by a few subtle features.

Fowler’s toad has three or more warts in each large, dark, dorsal spot and has no enlarged warts on its legs, chest or belly. In addition, the parotoid gland (the enlarged bump behind each eye that produces a defensive toxin) touches the ridge on the forehead.

A red Fowler's toad viewed from the side © John White

A red Fowler’s toad viewed from the side © John White

Fowler’s toad is a medium sized toad ranging from 2 to 3.5 inches in length. The coloration is typically brownish or gray with a light stripe running down the center of its back. The belly is normally tan and unspotted.

The toad occurs statewide, but is especially abundant in the Coastal Plain. The toad prefers sandy areas next to ponds, lakes, and rivers. Fowler’s toad is nocturnal and spends its nights foraging for insects and burrows itself into the wet sand to stay cool and moist during the heat of the day.

The toad breeds from April to August in shallow pools, pond margins and ditches. Breeding usually begins several weeks after American Toads. Eggs are deposited in long strands numbering as many as 10,000, but 4,000 – 5,000 is more typical. The call is a nasal-like bleat lasting up to five seconds. The call has been likened to a sheep or a baby crying.

Listen to the Fowler’s Toad Call:

  • June 19, 2015