Western Toad Tracks
Natural History of Western Toads
Toads are nocturnal amphibians who roam overland looking for insects. They are most active at night because the daytime heat would dry them out. During the day, they hide under logs, boards, rocks, burrows of their own construction, or in rodent burrows. They get around mostly by walking, rather than hopping like frogs do. They will hop to escape danger.
Tracks are often indistinct, unless they are found in soft mud. Usually the tips of the toes leave round dots and drag marks in the sand. The drag marks point in the direction of travel.
Western toads have dry, warty skin and a light stripe down the back. They often travel far from sources of water, although they do require water for breeding.
In the soft sand of river bars, the drag marks from the hind toes are very prominent.
They breed between January and September. Long strings of eggs in a jelly-like substance are attached to vegetation in still, shallow water. The tadpoles emerge from the eggs and live in the shallows feeding on vegetation until they lose their tails and metamorphose into toads.
If you handle toads or other amphibians, remember that insect repellents, sunscreens, and other substances on your hands can damage their delicate, sensitive skin. You will not get warts from toads.
Personal Notes on Western Toads
Toads are frequently seen at night. I have found them near water and far from water. They apparently donít need to be near a large body of water. Their tracks were puzzling to me at first. I found the fine traces in soft sand and it took a lot of thought to figure out exactly who made them. Then, I watched a toad move across a river bank. After taking a look at its tracks, I knew was able to solve the mystery.
I have never heard the voice of the western toad. I donít even know if they make sound. Where I live, the most commonly heard amphibian is the Pacific treefrog.
I was somewhat surprised to find that toads prefer walking rather than hopping. It still amazes me when I walk down to the river bar in the morning and see all the toad tracks. There certainly are a lot of them out there. Morning is the best time to see the tracks, before the wind has erased the little delicate imprints.
Find toad posters, greeting cards, t-shirts, hats, and more in my new store.
Now available: "Animals Don't Cover
Their Tracks - An Introduction to Animal Tracking" on CD! (Version 3.0)
New drawings, more species, more photos, more extensive sections on tracking
humans, more detailed directions for plaster casting, mystery tracks section,
tracking stories section, and more. The CD features over 100 species, including
special bonus sections with the tracks of some African and Australian
animals. A large section on tracking lost people for search and rescue is
included, with over four pages of photos showing the details of tracks and
signs people leave. Easy to use format. This web site is limited
by bandwidth, but the CD-ROM is not. The CD is available in my online store at:
Works with Mac or PC. Happy tracking!!
What else can you find in the nature store? Beartracker's animal tracks coloring book, T-shirts, sweatshirts, journals, book bags, toddler and infant apparel, mouse pads, posters, postcards, coffee mugs, travel mugs, clocks, Frisbees, bumper stickers, hats, stickers, and many more items. All with tracks or paw prints, or nature scenes. Custom products are available. If you don't see the track you want on the product you want, email me and I can probably create it. Proceeds from all sales go to pay the monthly fees for this web site. You can help support this site as well as get great tracking products! Thank you!
|Find other tracking products: www.zazzle.com/tracker8459*|
|Also visit these fine
stores for more products of interest:
NDN Pride shop - For Indian Pride items for all tribes. Custom items available on request.
ASL Signs of Love - For anyone who uses or is learning ASL, American Sign Language. Custom name items and more are available here.
Sales from all stores give commissions to Beartracker's Animal Tracks Den, which helps keep this site online as a free service. We are celebrating ten years online this year!
Got a toad story? E-mail me and tell me about it.
Copyright © 1997-2008. Text and drawings by Kim A. Cabrera