Length (snout to vent): Males 6-11 cm, Females 12.5 cm. Toads have soft, somewhat dry, bumpy skin. Adult Western Toads tend to be stout with thick forelimbs. Colour ranges from tan to light brown, grey, or greenish on top. Markings are a few dark spots to extensive mottling, warts may be reddish. A thin, cream coloured dorsal stripe runs down
the centre of the back (most prominent in mature females; may be absent or inconspicuous in juveniles), which may have reddish warts. The oval-shaped parotoid glands behind the eyes are discernable, even in recently metamorphosed toads (“toadlets”). The glands excrete a mildly toxic substance used to ward off would-be-predators. The hind feet have horny tubercles used for burrowing and are yellowish or orange in juveniles. Males are smaller with narrower head, longer forearms and dark nuptial pads on thumbs. The nuptial pads are used while grasping females during breeding in a position known as “amplexus”. Males lack vocal sacs but may produce repeated chirping sounds if grasped by hand (females usually are silent or emit few chirps). Tadpoles are black or dark brown and relatively small (1.2-3 cm, 2.5-3 cm total length prior to
metamorphosis). The snout is square and the eyes are set about midway between the dorsal midline and edge of the head. The tailfin is narrow compared to tadpoles of species like Northern Red-legged Frog and may be heavily speckled with gray or black.
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BC Ministry of Environment Lands and Parks. Resources Inventory Branch 1998. [Internet] Inventory methods for pond-breeding amphibians and
Painted Turtle (Version 2.0). Standards for components of British Columbia’s biodiversity No. 38. -
Browne, Constance et al. 2010. [Internet] Hibernation sites of Western Toads (Anaxyrus boreas): Characterization and management implications. Herpetological
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COSEWIC 2002. [Internet] COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Western Toad Bufo boreas in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. vi + 31 pp. -
Davis, T.M. 2002. [Internet] Research priorities for the management of the Western Toad, Bufo boreas, in British Columbia. -
Deguise, Isabelle and John S. Richardosn. 2009. [Internet] Prevalence of the Chytrid Fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in Western Toads in
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Germano, J.M. and P.J. Bishop. 2008. [Internet] Suitability of amphibians and reptiles for translocation. Conservation Biology 23: 7-15. -
Goebel, Anna etal. 2009. [Internet] Mitochondrial DNA evolution in the Anaxyrus boreas species group. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 50 (2009):209–225. -
Heyer, W.R., et al. 1994. Measuring and monitoring biological diversity. Standard methods for amphibians. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. -
Matsuda, B.M. 2002. [Internet] The Wetlandkeepers Handbook: Section 5, module 2.4. Conducting an amphibian inventory. BC Wildlife Federation, Surrey, BC. -
Ministry of Transportation. 2008. [Internet] Road Runner Newsletter “Toad on the road”. -
Montana Field Guide. 2010. Western Toad A. boreas. -
Morgan, K. 2014. Ryder Lake amphibian protection project road surveys 2014. Fraser Valley Conservancy. -
Ovaska, Kristiina et al. 2004. [internet] Best management practices for amphibians and reptiles in urban and rural environments in British Columbia. BC Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection. Nanaimo. -
Provincial Western Toad Working Group. 2014. Management plan for the Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas) in British Columbia. BC Ministry of Environment, Victoria, BC. 29pp. -
Rithaler, R. 2002. [Personal comm.] Corporation of Delta. -
Rithaler, R. 2003. [Unpublished] Amphibian inventory and management windows for the corporation of Delta. -
Sielecki, Leonard E. 2010. [Internet] Wildlife identification field guide: red and blue listed amphibians and reptiles in British Columbia. -
Warttig, Warren. 2010. [Personal comm.] -
Wind, Elke. 2010. [Personal comm.] -
Zevit, Pamela. 2008. [Personal obs.] Adamah Consultants.
Species Profile prepared by: Pamela Zevit, RPBio,. Elke Wind E. Wind, RPBIo. for the South Coast Conservation Program (SCCP) in partnership
with: International Forest Products (Interfor), Capacity Forestry (CapFor). Funding for the original factsheet was made possible through the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI): http://www.sfiprogram.org.
Updated and revised by: Isabelle Houde, RPBio in consultation with the SCCP. Part of the National Conservation Plan, this project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada. Dans le cadre du Plan de Conservation National, ce projet a été réalisé
avec l’appui financier du Gouvernement du Canada.
Every effort has been made to ensure content accuracy. Comments or corrections should be directed to the South Coast Conservation
Program: firstname.lastname@example.org. Content updated November 2015.
Image Credits: : Western Toad: Patrick Lilley, Western Toad tadpole: Pamela Zevit, Northern Red-legged Frog: Gord Gadsden, Habitat: Pamela
Zevit. Images from “creative commons” sources (e.g. Wikipedia, Flickr, U.S. Government) can be used without permission and for noncommercial
purposes only. All other images have been contributed for use by the SCCP and its partners/funders only.