Frog of the Week

Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri)

photo by Jimpaz

Common Name: Fowler’s Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus fowleri
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad Family
Location: Canada and the United States
US Location: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, and West Virginia
Size: 2.5 – 3.75 inches (6.35 – 9.5 cm)

The Fowler’s Toad is named in honor after naturalist Samuel Page Fowler, who formed the Essex County Natural History Society, which became the Essex Institute and merged Peabody Museum of Salem to form the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The Fowler’s Toad is found mostly in the eastern United States and barely in southeastern Canada. They spend most of their time burrowed during the day and come out at night to forage. The toads are slightly poisonous. If you handle them, wear gloves and don’t touch your eyes. Also don’t eat them or let your dogs eat them.

photo by Todd Pierson

They breed during summer, from June to August, and the farther south they are, the later they breed. Heavy rains bring out the frogs to start mating. Males of the species will call from shallow waters in ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers. The males will form large breeding aggregations, calling out for the females. Once the female enters the pond and selects a mate, the male will grasp her behind in amplexus. Other males will try to jump in and try to bred with the female. The female will lay her eggs and the male will fertilize them. The female can lay between 2,000 to 10,000 eggs in a clutch. Neither parent provides any parental care for their offspring. The larval period for the toads is between 40 – 60 days.

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