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American Toad

Bufo americanus

  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Adult Size: Usually 3 inches (range 2 to 4 inches).
  • Range: The American toad has an extensive range in North America. They are found primarily in the northeastern states, ranging westward to the eastern edge of the Dakotas and southward to the northern areas of the Gulf Coast states.
  • Habitat: The American toad occurs primarily in forest and prairie habitats, in both rural and urbanized areas. A semi-permanent water body is required for the development of larvae.
  • Captive Lifespan: 8 to 12 Years
  • Dangerous:
  • Care Level: Beginner

Overview

As with most other Bufonid species, a low aquarium with ample floor space works well for this species. A pair can be maintained in a standard 10 gallon aquarium. Although it is unlikely that this species would be able to escape from an enclosure of this size, it is a good idea to provide a tight-fitting screen lid to allow for ventilation while preventing the intrusion of other pets.

The American toad is diurnally active at times, and it is a good idea to provide artificial lighting to simulate natural photoperiod and allow for proper metabolic activity. A fluorescent light, for instance the Zoomed Reptisun 2.0 is an excellent choice in lighting, as it provides both a UVA and UVB light source, but does not produce excessive heat. It is imperative to not allow the cage to become too hot as these animals will quickly perish. As such, an incandescent bulb would not be an acceptable light source, unless required to heat a very large terrarium. The temperature should never get higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

A substrate that allows American toads the possibility of burrowing is also a good idea for the successful maintenance of this species. The substrate should be kept somewhat damp in order to prevent desiccation. A handful of the substrate should clump when the appropriate level of moisture has been attained. If the clump disintegrates in your hand, it may need a little more water; if water oozes out of the clump, you may need to dry the substrate out a little. It is always necessary to provide a shallow water bowl as a source of fresh water.

Feeding American toads in captivity rarely presents any difficulties. A staple diet of crickets works very well with this species. Mealworms, wax worms, earthworms and small tomato hornworms can be used to provide a varied diet.

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