Western Toad


Last COSEWIC designation: November 2002
SARA risk category: Special Concern

Description: The Western Toad has dry bumpy skin, horizontal pupils, and a distinctive white or cream-coloured stripe down its back. The toad varies in colour from olive-green to reddish-brown to almost black. Males can be 6 to 11 cm long, while females commonly reach 12.5 cm.

Habitat: The Western Toad will breed in an impressive range of natural and artificial aquatic habitats — from the shallow margins of lakes to roadside ditches. Adult toads can be found in forested areas, wet shrublands, avalanche slopes, and meadows. They appear to favour dense shrub cover, perhaps because it provides protection from desiccation and predators. The habitat requirements of hibernation sites for the Western Toad in Canada are not known.

Threats: The practice of stocking lakes where fish do not occur naturally may be one of the biggest threats to the Western Toad. The fish do not eat this species, but they do carry diseases to which the tadpoles and toads are susceptible. Other threats associated with development and agriculture includes road traffic, pesticides, and contaminants. Predation or competition with introduced species such as bullfrogs and stocked fish are also a concern.