The Fowler’s toad is a member of the Bufonidae family. They are found extensively in different parts of the United States and Canada. The toad has been named after Samuel Page Fowler, who was a prominent naturalist. These toads often use the color of their bodies to camouflage themselves in their natural surroundings, a factor that often makes it difficult for predators and even humans to spot them.
Here is a brief description of Fowler’s toads.
Size: Adult Fowler’s toads usually have a length ranging between 5 cm and 9.5 cm.
Eyes: They have round eyes that are located around the top of the heads.
Color: These toads are mainly olive green, grey, rust red or brown in color. The dorsal half of the body is covered by dark wart-like spots. The lower or ventral side of their bodies is whitish in appearance.
Sexual Dimorphism: Males are usually lighter and smaller than females. The males also have a dark colored throat.
Feet: The Fowler’s toads have got webbed feet.
Species: A. fowleri
Scientific Name:Anaxyrus fowleri
Fowler’s toads can be found extensively in different parts of the East Coast as well as the Gulf Coast, in states like Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri, Ontario, Texas, and Illinois.
These toads are also quite prevalent in numerous parts in Canada.
The Fowler’s toad mostly resides in sand prairies, gardens, open woodlands, sand dunes, ditches, beaches, yards, lake shores, and meadows. It also creates burrows on the ground in the winter months as well as in hot and dry periods.
Fowler’s toads mostly feed on different types of small invertebrates like ants, beetles and other insects.
They also eat flies and gather bacterial mats and various forms of algae from rocks located underwater and water plants. However, they do avoid consuming earthworms at all times. These toads also eat aphids, collembolans, and fly larvae.
These toads are predominantly nocturnal but they may also spend a good deal of time outside during the day. They may also explore and inhabit areas where the human population is common. They can often be spotted on gardens where they are not alarmed by human presence near them. However, they remain mostly inactive during days that are very cold or very hot. They typically hibernate in their burrows when the outside weather is cold or hot. These toads urinate on the hands of people if they are handled or touched by humans. This is done as a way of escaping.
Although Fowler’s toads are usually much less vocal when compared to some of the other types of toads, they do produce a loud nasal “waaaah” sound that typically lasts for about 1 to 4 seconds. Male frogs may produce a chirping call if they are held by any other male. Since this call works like a plea for being released from such an embrace by another male, it is often referred to as the ‘release call’.
Fowler’s toads are mostly preyed on by eastern hog-nosed snakes, American bullfrogs, raccoons and various birds like bitterns and shrikes.
Here are the main adaptations of the Fowler’s toads.
• They tend to play dead when they are looking to avoid being handled or attacked.
• They use the color of their skin to blend with their surroundings and remain undetected by predators.
• The sticky, wet chemical secretion that they produce from their warts is toxic in nature and is rather distasteful to most of their predators. As Fowler’s Toad is poisonous, it can kill its
predators with its poisons. Since Fowler’s Toad poisonous to dog, dog owners should protect
their pets from them.
Fowler’s toads breed often in warmer seasons that last from April to July. However, the months of May and June see most of the reproductive activity.
These toads mostly choose shallow open waters such as farm ponds, woodland ponds, marshes and lake edges for their mating purposes.
As the time for copulation comes near, male toads move on to their locations of choice and start calling for the females. These calls usually last up to about 30 seconds.
These calls often cause toads of both sexes to respond and instances, where one male toad tries to mate with another male, are common. In such cases, the male toad that grips another male comes to realize its mistake as soon as the other male produces a sharp chirping release call.
Males usually hold the females from their behinds and ride it to complete the act of copulation.
Fowler’s toads are not normally kept as pets but they are often kept under captivity so that scientists may study them closely. For this reason, it is not advisable to offer Fowler’s Toad for sale. Special Fowler’s Toad care plan is followed to take good care of this species.
Females may lay around 7,000 to 10,000 eggs after successful copulation. The eggs are fertilized externally and may take about 2 to 7 days to hath and produce tiny tadpoles.
The young tadpoles experience a metamorphosis and transform into baby toads in about 4 to 6 weeks. At birth, the tadpoles are about 1 cm to 1.4 cm in size. The body of these tadpoles is oval-shaped and they have lower and upper fins on either side of their bodies. They also have a long tail that helps them to swim around. The tadpoles use tooth-like structures present within their mouths for eating. As they grow to become mature tadpoles, the tail and fins disappear. The baby toads may reach sexual maturity only in about a single growing season. However, there are also tadpoles that take a long time to reach maturity and may even take around 3 years to reach the same level of maturity.
In the wild, Fowler’s toad typically lives for about 5 years.
According to IUCN 3.1, the Fowler’s toad has been classified as “Least Concern” since they are found extensively in their natural environment.
Check out some of the fun facts about the Fowler’s toads.
• While some baby Fowler’s toads reach maturity quickly, others may take a long time.
• The toxic substances present in these toads can lead to physical discomfort and vomiting in cats and dogs that try to consume them.
• These toads often appear in certain locations after heavy rains where they are not normally expected.
Here are the pictures of the Fowler’s toads.
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