what is the name of a very small, local toad? #283580 - Ask Extension


what is the name of a very small, local toad? #283580

Asked October 09, 2015, 10:58 AM EDT

One of our parents brought me pictures of a very small toad (attached), of which there were many on the trail she runs near a wetland.  I could not identify the toad (basically I know bufo boreas, and that is it ☺).

Thanks, Mark Wertheimer, principal, Traut Core Knowledge School

Larimer County Colorado

Expert Response

Thank you for your question.  Your picture is detailed enough to see all of the characteristics I'd need to be sure of an identity.  Based on your location, however, your specimen could be a juvenile Mountain or Western Toad (Bufo boreas) or Woodhouse's Toad (Bufo woodhousii).  Both of these species supposedly occur in Larimer County, however, Geoffrey A. Hammerson in Amphibians and Reptiles in Colorado, 2nd Edition, believes that museum records of B. woodhousii in Larimer, Lake, and Park counties are erroneous.  This species does not usually occur at higher elevations, and Hammerson says that these records were never confirmed by later collection of this species in these areas.  The adults of both species usually display a light-colored stripe along the middle of the back, however, this stripe can be absent or inconspicuous in juveniles of both species.

The habitat description in Hammerson's book says the Mountain Toad typically lives in damp conditions near marshes, wet meadows, streams, beaver ponds, glacial kettle ponds and lakes, which seems to agree with habitat in which you found your specimen.  He also notes there are four confirmed B. boreas breeding sites in Larimer County.

B. boreas is currently listed as State Endangered in Colorado.  If, in fact, your specimen is B. boreas, and you saw a significant number of them in this area, you should contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CP&W).  Here is a link to a CP&W website that provides information on this species, listed on this page as the Boreal Toad:

You can obtain contact info for CP&W at:

Hope this answers your question, and thanks for using Ask an Expert.

Jim Burke Replied October 13, 2015, 5:27 PM EDT
Sorry, didn't adequately proof-read my answer before I sent it.  I meant to say the photograph is NOT detailed enough.  Sorry for any confusion.

Jim Burke Replied October 13, 2015, 5:29 PM EDT

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