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Canadian Toads

Canadian Toads are generally about 3 in (2.5 cm) and 2 oz (55 g) and have a yellow line down their back, dark spots and bumps, and a short snout. Canadian Toads are native to central Canada and the Midwestern United States.

Common Name Canadian Toad
Other NameDakota Toad
Scientific NameA. hemiophrys
LocationsCentral Canada
Upper Midwest of the United States
CharacteristicsBrown skin, with a vertical yellow line in its back
Rows of brown spots on either side of the line.
Color Brown
Origin Central Canada
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
SpeciesA. hemiophrys
Max Length3 in
Max Weight2 oz
Lifespan12 years

The Canadian Toad is relatively small and can easily fit into your palm. However, like most toads, the entire body of Canadian toads is covered with warts. This gives their skin a rough accent making it blend in very well with its surroundings. It has brown skin with a characteristic yellow marking that divides its back into two halves. On both sides, there are rows of dark brown patches that are surrounded by yellow. 

Each brown patch generally has one or two glands that tend to have a a deep russet color. Furthermore, they also have parotoid glands that are barely distinguishable from the rest of their bodies. They also have relatively short limbs (compared to aquatic frogs) that help them to hop short distances. 

Tips on How to Spot the Canadian Toad

I love going out looking for Canadian Toads! You can find them in Central Canada in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Whereas, in the United States, their territories range from Montana down to Dakota and Minnesota. So, if you happen to be in any of these areas and would like to spot these toads, head to a marsh or an area that has a body of freshwater within 1km around it.

Here are some of my top tips to find Canadian Toads:

  • Canadian toads are nocturnal, so it’s easiest to spot them right after sunset
  • Bring a flashlight and a camera if you want to capture them hopping around
  • They can generally be found on land a few feet away from a body of freshwater
  • Look for Canadian Toads near lake potholes, temporary ponds, and in boreal forests
  • They are especially active in the Spring during mating season between May and August
  • Canadian Toads have distinct coronal crests that you can spot easily
  • You may find them on a feeding frenzy on July evenings
  • Listen for their call in the Spring, they will not call as much or at all during the Summer
  • You can generally find Canadian Toads until October when they begin hibernating
  • Do not search for toads in the Winter, let them hibernate in peace. Disturbing them can lead to their death.

Like most toads, Canadian Toads are generally active at night when they look for prey to eat, or mates to reproduce with during mating season. It is easiest to find them once the sun is set. If you search for them during the day, be very careful not to hurt them turning over rocks or branches and be sure there are no predators around (including pets).

Be sure to check out our guides for more info on finding toads:

Interesting Facts About Canadian Toads

  • Canadian Toads are not found all over Canada
  • Canadian Toads have a long yellow line down their back
  • Canadian Toads can be found in parts of the USA
  • Female Canadian Toads are usually bigger than males
  • Canadian Toads can lay up to 20,000 eggs every year during the mating season
  • Canadian Toads can squirt this liquid on predators if they are attacked
  • Canadian Toads may return to the same place to hibernate every year
  • Some Canadian Toads can be found as North as the North West Territories in Canada

Questions Related to Canadian Toads

Are Canadian Toads poisonous? Canadian toads are poisonous and can be lethal to dogs, but their poison may only irritate the eyes and the skin of humans. They have parotid glands that produce a toxic liquid substance and may cause mild sickness if ingested.

What do Canadian Toads eat? Canadian toads are carnivores, though mainly insectivorous. They like to eat a wide variety of insects ranging from flies to grasshoppers and crickets. They also eat ants, beetles, wasps, moths, and bees.

Can you keep a Canadian Toad as a pet? Wild Canadian Toads should not be kept as pets. They could be cared for as wild pets in your yard if you make your yard an ideal place for them to thrive in liberty with access to water, naturally attracted bugs for them to eat, and very few predators.

What are Canadian Toads’ predators? Canadian Toads have many predators including snakes, rodents, dogs, crows, owls, hawks, eagles, ducks and even large lizards. Although many predators may avoid toads due to their foul poison, many of their predators feed on the toad’s insides rather than their skin.

What do Canadian Toads sound like? Male Canadian toads make a long trill sound that can last 15 to 20 seconds at a time during mating season to attract female partners of the same species with whom they can reproduce.

Are Canadian Toads endangered? Canadian toads aren’t endangered. They have a substantial population, and their reproduction process usually involves plenty of offspring, so they are generally replenished every year.

Do Canadian Toads hibernate? Common Toads hibernate in the Fall and Winter, usually starting in September. They hibernate in hollows, mud, dirt and soil, generally just below the frost line. Toads cannot survive in temperatures below –5.2 °C or 29°F to 23°F.

How many babies do Canadian toads have? Canadian Toads lay between 6,000 to 20,000 eggs during mating season from May untill August. Canadian toads converge in pools or still freshwater with foliage. Canadian Toads do not remain with their eggs or tadpoles.

More About Canadian Toads

Toads are my favourite animals and you can learn much more about them in these dedicated guides to toads on our blog:


National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. John Behler and F. Wayne King. 1998.