Five facts that will make you like toads

Because frogs are brightly colored, they tend to be looked on with more awe than toads. However, American toads have some pretty neat attributes when you get to know them.

They taste bad.

American toads are covered in red and yellow wart-looking spots that actually contain glands that secrete poison. Don't worry, it won't hurt you if you touch them. The poisonous milky fluid makes them taste bad to predators, and it is harmful to predators when swallowed or if it gets in their eyes.

Al the toad

Toads' main predators are snakes, and unfortunately for toads, some of them --- like the garter snake --- are immune to their poison. They will sometimes urinate on themselves to become a less appetizing meal or will inflate their bodies to be harder to swallow.

Whether the toad has urinated or secreted, you do want to make sure to wash your hands after touching a toad, like any animal.

They don't ribbit.

When looking at any frog or toad, people tend to "ribbit." That's the sound many of us learn all frogs and toads make. However, toads actually don't ribbit. Instead they have a pretty singing voice. Listen below.

They are different colors.

toads different colors

You might think American toads are all brown, but sometimes they are red with light patches of green or even gray. Their bellies are even a white or yellow color. They're much more colorful than you might think!

They eat their skin.

While growing, American toads shed their external skin every couple of weeks. Older toads lose their skin about four times per year. The skin peels off in one pieces and is collected underneath its tongue and is eaten.

They have sticky tongues like frogs.

Most toads wait for prey to come along and pounce on it. American toads can shoot out their sticky tongues to catch prey.

One American toad can eat up to 1,000 insects per day, so they stay busy eating.


Tell apart Iowa toads

Al and Wally, named for conservationist Alfred Wallace, are two Great Plains toads (Anaxyrus cognatus) that live at the Dickinson County Nature Center. Four different toads live in Iowa — Great Plains toad, American toad, Fowler’s toad and Woodhouse’s toad — and they can be difficult to tell apart. Here are a few key ways Read More »

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FREE frog mask template

Did you know tree frogs’ last bone in their toes is shaped like a claw? Have you read about how about frogs’ bodies freeze during the winter and thaw in the spring? Do you know what a group of frogs is called? Click here to find out. Frogs are really interesting creatures, and many people Read More »

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Fast frog facts

The Dickinson County Nature Center frog ambassadors are always a hit with kids when they come out during programs. That is often because they make the programs more exciting when they escape from the grasp of the naturalist with their squirmy, slippery bodies. But visitors also love to see their long legs, ability to jump Read More »

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Make a toad hand puppet

Since we talked today about five facts that will make you love toads (read the blog post here), we decided to make a toad-themed craft. If you look up toad crafts, there are not a lot out there! Like we mentioned in the blog post, toads tend to get overlooked in favor of their more Read More »

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It really works: Leaping frog origami

I am by no means an origami expert, but I always feel accomplished when I complete a new project. We’ve tried butterfly origami (you can find that blog entry here) and today decided to attempt making interactive origami — a leaping frog! Steps 1-4: Fold your paper hot dog, then crease the right and left Read More »

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  1. Rebecca on August 17, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    I own 7 taods and 8 frogs.

  2. Wendy on July 6, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    I have a greyish coloured toad on my allotment he/she lives under the black cover I have to surprises the weeds when I pull back the cover he/she is looking at me I have dug over the ground really roughly so toad has somewhere to go I am going to have to build toad a home so as to get on with my digging I talk to him or her so sweet I really don’t want to loose it