American Toad in Iowa

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American toad, photo by Rhododendrites via Wikimedia Commons

If you look up the American toad or Anaxyrus americanus some websites might tell you there isn’t a substantial population in Dickinson County. Yet, they are in every county around us which means we will see them because animals move and don’t recognize county lines. Plus, with so much water around here, toads would be silly to not come and enjoy the water.

The American toad competes with two other toad species which is partly why they are less abundant. These toads are active during the day in the cooler months and pretty much nocturnal during the hot months. This means you will have to find them once it cools off at night or wait for the cooler months. They don’t like to be in the hot, dry sun as they like to stay hydrated. They even burrow into the ground during really days. But on the other hand, during the rainy days, they love to be out.

The toads breed in the spring around April or May and then the babies hatch as little black tadpoles with gold specks. By July, they are tiny toads. Then as the weather cools off, all the toads, young and old burrow themselves into the ground to spend the winter.

The toads hibernate because, during the winter, they wouldn’t have a food source. They eat small bugs like insects and other invertebrates. They help control insect pests so for that we should be thankful. But watch out because they use their tongue to snap up their prey.

So, if you see those little toads around a pond in July, really take a look at them. They will be a brown color and have some bumps on them. They won’t give you warts. That is actually a myth thought to have come about based on the bumps on frogs and toads’ bodies. But don’t worry. It’s not true. And if you catch a toad around here, it’s most likely an American toad.

Hear what they sound like below!