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Canadian Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Network - Réseau Canadien de 
Conservation des Amphibiens et des Reptiles

Anaxyrus boreas boreas

formerly Bufo boreas boreas

Boreal Toad / Crapaud de l'Ouest


Boreal Toad

Description
This toad is usually green or brown with a light stripe down the back. Like all toads, it has a dry, warty skin. The warts may be reddish brown and are surrounded by black marks. Unlike other toads it has no cranial crests although it does have oval parotoid glands. The belly is pale with dark mottling. Adults reach up to 12 cm in size.

Call
The breeding call is a quiet peeping like little chicks.

Confusing Species
The Boreal Toad is the only true toad found in British Columbia.Along the eastern edge of its range in Alberta, it may overlap with the Canadian Toad which has cranial crests fused into a bony hump, or "boss", between the eyes.

Distribution
The Boreal Toad is found throughout most of British Columbia, the west central third of Alberta and just into the south east corner of the Yukon as well was much of the western United States.

Habitat
This species can be found in boreal forest, sub-alpine and alpine environments up to 3000 m elevation. It is usually near ponds, streams, rivers and lakes but often shelters in loose, moist soil or rodent burrows. Breeding takes place in small shallow ponds and pools, often with a sandy bottom.

Reproduction
Breeding takes place from April to June. Long strings of up to 16,500 eggs are laid and entwined around submerged vegetation. These hatch in three to twelve days. Larvae transform in six to eight weeks.

Natural History
Boreal Toads are usually nocturnal except at high elevations.Their diet includes worms, slugs and insects. Unlike most toads, Boreal toads walk rather than hop. When disturbed they may exhibit a defensive posture by raising on their legs and puffing up with air. This makes it harder for predators to swallow them. They take two to three years to mature and can live up to 35 years in captivity.

Conservation Concerns
The Boreal Toad has undergone declines across its range.Declines appear to be related to urban expansion and the conversion of land to agriculture. Habitat degradation and exotic species may also be affecting this species. The Boreal Toad is designated Special Concern by COSEWIC.