Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fowler's Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri)

Fowler's Toad - Anaxyrus fowleri
(Formerly  Bufo fowleri)

Tentatively identified as a Fowler's Toad on Herps of Arkansas.

Description of Anaxyrus fowleri from the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory:

Fowler's toads are sometimes hard to identify because they have few distinctive characteristics. They have as few as one wart and as many as seven in each dorsal spot, and a ground color of light gray or brown, often with traces of yellow. Fowler's toads have a light stripe down the middle, and prominent cranial crests. These toads are known to hybridize with other toad species in some areas, making it difficult to be sure of a toad's species when attempting identification. Offspring may possess traits of both parental species.

Fowler's Toads range throughout most of the eastern United States.  (USGS range map)

This particular toad decided to live in my basement shop.  Mice long ago chewed an entrance hole through the weatherstripping on the basement door's bottom.  Toads, black snakes and copperheads have all also used this entrance.  I suppose they like laying on the basement's cool concrete slab on hot summer's days.  Jo and I have both learned that during the summer, it's best to push the basement door fully open and see what may be laying just inside the door before stepping into the basement.  Jo once had to convert a normal step into a jump mid-stride when a copperhead was visiting.

I moved the toad out of my basement several times.  I was concerned it wouldn't get enough to eat, though I reckon there are enough camel crickets and other insect also living in my basement for the toad to survive because it always returned.  I'm also concerned I might accidentally step on the toad  since it doesn't always remain hidden.  The toad doesn't seem to appreciate that danger.



Lisa at Greenbow said...

A toad has to go were a toad has to go. Interesting that it would enter a building. I haven't seen one in a building before. I had one in a window well before. Thinking it couldn't get out if it wanted to I removed it a couple of times before I realized that is where it wanted to be no matter what I thought.

Birdy Official said...

Very interesting post. We have similar species, but not sure whether it's flower's toad or some other species. Your post will certainly help me in identification.
Thanks for sharing the information and pictures.

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed with the care you & your family take with your unexpected visitors to keep them safe. This is quite a handsome fellow, too.

Steve Willson said...

These are some very nice photos. I've heard Fowler's Toads call in this area, but have never seen one.

Lana Gramlich said...

What a pretty toad. Nice to know you're the type of folks to help the cause, rather than hurt it!

AphotoAday said...

I know I would surely have had a heart attack had that Copperhead crossed MY path...