Virginia.gov

southern toad (Anaxyrus terrestris)

Photos

Distribution Map

Distribution Map

Characteristics

This toad is generally a brown color, but may vary in color from red or gray to black. The crests on head are prominent and they are raised at the rear into clublike knobs. The skin between the larger warts is finely roughened with tubercles all over, including the eyelids. There may be a light mid-dorsal stripe. This toad grows to lengths of 1 5/8 - 3 in. (4.1 - 7.5 cm.). This species breeds from March to September. The eggs are in long coils of jelly, and are 1/25-1/16 inch in diameter and 2500-3000 in number. The eggs hatch in 2-4 days. The tadpoles are black, with a short rounded tail, and tooth ridges 2/3. The transformation occurs in 30-55 days. The voice is a shrill musical trill.

Distribution

This is the most common toad of the southern U.S, occurring in Virginia only in the southeastern piedmont and coastal plain. It is abundant in areas with sandy soils. This species breeds in any shallow freshwater and may lay eggs in pools so transient that they last only a few hours, resulting in hatching failure.

Foods

This species forages at night. Food preferences are not documented for this species but it is assumed that it eats insects.

More Information

For more information, please visit the Virginia Fish & Wildlife Information Service (direct link to species booklet).