Woodhouse’s Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii)

photo by LA Dawson

Common Name: Woodhouse’s Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus woodhousii
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: Mexico and the United States
US Locations: Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming
Size: 2 – 5 inches (5.08 – 12.7 cm)

The Woodhouse’s Toad is named after Samuel Washington Woodhouse, a physician and naturalist. The toad is pretty much your typical toad. For instance, they spend much of their day underground or under logs. Typically, the toads come out at night to forage for insects and other invertebrates. There are three different sub species of toad that some scientists recognize.

  • Southwestern Woodhouse Toad – Anaxyrus woodhousii australis
  • East Texas Toad – Anaxyrus woodhousii velatu
  • Rocky Mountain Toad – Anaxyrus woodhousii woodhousii
photo by John P Clare

Reproduction in Woodhouse’s Toad

The Woodhouse’s Toad breeds from February to September. Populations in different areas breed at different times. In the Sonoran Desert, populations near streams or rivers on rain-less will breed on warm spring nights. Breeding here lasts two to four months long. Meanwhile, toads in open desert flats will breed following heavy, summer rains in temporary pools that are created. Breeding here only lasts as little as five days! Next, in the Great Plains region, the toads breed from February to July in lakes, ponds, and temporary rain filled pools.

Overall, the breeding behavior is pretty standard after that. The males will call in the shallows of the water bodies. Afterwards, the female will select a mate. Then, the male will grasp her from behind in the amplexus position. Next, the female will then lay her eggs and the male will fertilize them. The female can lay up to 25,000 eggs! Neither of the parents provide any care for their offspring. The tadpoles then take 5 to 8 weeks to complete their metamorphosis.

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