Fowler’s Toad (Bufo [Anaxyrus] fowleri)

Fowler's Toad (Bufo [Anaxyrus] fowleri)

Photos by J.D. Willson unless otherwise noted

Description: Like all toads, Fowler’s Toads have dry, warty, skin and short legs. They are fairly small — 2-3 in. (5.1-7.5 cm) — with a record of 3.75 in. (9.5 cm). The dorsal coloration is usually brownish or grayish, with the occasional greenish or reddish coloration. There are sometimes some bits of yellow. Also, there is often a light stripe down the dorsum. This species looks similar to other toads in our region. It can be distinguished from the American Toad (Bufo [Anaxyrus] americanus) by the presence of at least 3 warts within dark spot on the back (B. [A.] americanus generally has 3 or less). It has smaller cranial ridges than the Southern Toad (B. [A.] terrestris), which is generally restricted to the Coastal Plain.

Range and Habitat: Fowlers Toads are found throughout much of the eastern US, but are absent from most of the Coastal Plain of South Carolina and Georgia and most of Florida. In our region they are generally restricted to the Piedmont and lower areas of the Mountains. These toads are often common in forested habitats, particularly near temporary or permanent waters.

Habits: Fowler’s toads are generally terrestrial and nocturnal and are most often seen active on humid summer evenings. Breeding takes place from spring to early summer in a variety of wetland types, from roadside ditches to large ponds. Males call from shallow waters. Females lay eggs in strings with clutches of up to 25,000 eggs in spring or summer after a heavy rain. Tadpoles go through metamorphosis within 2 months. Sexual maturity is reached in 1-3 years, differing among sex and locality. Adults primarily eat insects and other invertebrates.

Call: The call of the Fowler’s Toad sounds like a sheep-like bleat lasting from 1-4 seconds.

Conservation Status: Although common and not protected in our region, this species is a conservation concern in some northern portions of its range. This species is vulnerable to habitat loss, particularly wetland destruction.

Account Author: Glenn Thomas, University of Georgia – edited by J.D. Willson