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Southern Toad

Fact File

Scientific Name: Anaxyrus terrestris

Classification: Amphibian

Size: Up to 3.5 inches

Identifying Characteristics

This medium-sized toad is generally brown, which can vary from red or gray to black. The cranial crests, located between the eye and paratoid glands, are prominent and are raised at the rear into club-like knobs (see page 9). There may be a light mid- dorsal stripe.


This is the most common toad in the southern United States, occurring in Virginia only in the southeastern Piedmont and Coastal Plain. It is abundant in areas with sandy soils.

Did You Know?

The activity area of this species may encompass an area a mile wide.

Role in the Web of Life

This species breeds from March-September with females depositing up to 4,000 eggs in virtually any shallow freshwater habitat, including tire ruts and roadside ditches. During the coldest months, Southern Toads will dig into the ground a foot (30 cm.) or more to hibernate. Their advertisement call is a musical trill (5 to 10 seconds) that sounds similar to the Eastern American Toad, but is not as melodic and is higher in pitch. Where their ranges overlap with Eastern American Toads, hybridization may occur.


Species appears to be secure in Virginia.

Last updated: January 22, 2024

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Species Profile Database serves as a repository of information for Virginia’s fish and wildlife species. The database is managed and curated by the Wildlife Information and Environmental Services (WIES) program. Species profile data, distribution information, and photography is generated by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, State and Federal agencies, Collection Permittees, and other trusted partners. This product is not suitable for legal, engineering, or surveying use. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources does not accept responsibility for any missing data, inaccuracies, or other errors which may exist. In accordance with the terms of service for this product, you agree to this disclaimer.