|A Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas)|
|Living life dangerously crossing a logging road.|
Western Toads are the sumo wrestlers of the amphibian world. They have stocky bodies with short legs. With less leg power, they tend to be walkers rather than hoppers. Thick, bumpy skin ranging from pale green, to grey, to dark brown, or even red, protects them while living way from wetlands.
Western Toads breed in permanent and temporary bodies of water. Adults then migrate to forests or grasslands. They prefer moist environments, but I found this one in the middle of a dusty, dry logging road. They also dig or adopt burrows to go underground.
|Look for Western Toads in forests and grasslands.|
Eggs are laid in the spring and tadpoles develop quickly. By the end of summer, they transform into small toadlets, continue to develop for an additional two years, and can live up to ten years or more.
Western Toads eat insects and small invertebrates such as spiders, slugs and worms. If one comes into your garden, encourage it to stay. Tadpoles eat algae and plants in their aquatic environment.
You will find Western Toads from spring through fall. They do hibernate, especially in high elevations or colder climates, from November to April.
|A distinctive white or cream dorsal stripe.|
Why are these toads on the endangered list? You wouldn't think so, but they are under pressure due to habitat destruction, pollution, the spread of disease, introduction of non-native aquatic predators to their breeding areas, and road traffic during migration. Here in BC, the Western Toad is on the Provincial Yellow List, making it an animal of concern.
What can you do? Share information about Western Toads. Advocate for habitat preservation. Monitor breeding sites. Report sightings to the B.C. Frogwatch program. And in case you are wondering, after taking his picture I moved the little critter off the road a safe distance. Logging trucks and toads don't mix. -- Margy
References: Nature BC by James Kavanaugh, B.C. Frogwatch Program (online), and Species at Risk Public Registry: Government of Canada (online).