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WESTERN TOAD } Bufo boreas

RANGE: Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountains, western Canada and southeastern Alaska

STATUS: The World Conservation Union lists the Western toad as Near Threatened. Candidate for Endangered Species Act protection in Rocky Mountains, Endangered in Colorado and New Mexico, Protected Species in Wyoming, and Sensitive Species in Utah.

THREATS: Habitat degradation and destruction, infections and pathogens, pollution, increased ultraviolet radiation, introduced predators, and livestock grazing

The Western toad is having a hard time of it these days, what with habitat loss, fungal infections, acid and mineral pollution seeping from mines, increased ultraviolet radiation, introduced predators, and trampling by cows. Three Western toad subspecies occur in North America: Boreal toads, California toads, and Amargosa toads. Some Western toads may have lost their mating call — the males lack vocal sacs — but what they lack in ‘croak’ they make up for in birdlike ‘chirps.’ Western toads settle into breeding sites in still or barely moving water, typically ponds and small lakes, streams, rain pools, and ditches. Though many populations are still reproducing successfully, there have been severe declines and population losses where toads were once abundant, such as in the Sierra Nevada of California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.


Photo by James Bettaso, USFWS