4 Easy Ways to Find Toads in The Wild

I loved looking for toads in the wild as a kid and developed some very clear strategies and tips on how to go about finding them over the years. It is my pleasure to share them with you here so you can have fun finding and observing toads in the wild!

Generally, toads spend the majority of their day on land, and can be found burrowed in soil or hiding in humid areas like under piles of leaves, under branches, or in mud. Toads are most active in the late evening and at night when they feed on nocturnal insects such as mosquitoes, and moths.

Toads need three main things to survive: shelter, food, water, and can generally be found in areas with all three of these elements. Shelter can consist of rock formations, mud, piles of leaves, food generally consists of bugs, and water can be formed by humidity, ponds or streams. 

Check out our other article if you are looking for toads in your yard! 

1. Look For Toads on Land

As a general rule, you can find toads on land in forests, woodlands, and grasslands. Good places to look for toads in humid parcels of land close to marshes, bodies of water or conservation areas. Toads will generally not be at the water’s edge unless it is mating season.

Unlike aquatic frogs that spend their day basking in water, or tree frogs that spend most of their time clinging to trees, toads are terrestrial frogs that spend their time burrowed in the soil. They like to stay hidden, cool and humid underground where no predators can see them when the sun is at its peak.

A Forest Where I Found Toads

Here are some great places to look for toads on land during the day:

  • Forests
  • Woodlands
  • Grasslands
  • Meadows
  • Marshes
  • Conservation Areas
  • Within a few miles of a body of water
  • Marshes
  • Conservation Areas
  • Backyard

The best place to look for toads is on humid land. Vegetation generally retains and diffuses moisture which toads need to survive. Therefore, search for toads near vegetation in the forest near ferns, grass, sedges and moss (CTNF).

2. Look For Toads Under Humidity-Retaining Objects

During the day, toads can generally be found under humidity-retaining objects in forested areas such as piles of leaves, branches, rocks, or in mud. Such objects provide toads shelter and comfortable levels of humidity allowing them to stay hydrated and out of predator’s sight.

Toads like to burrow and hide during the day. They do so by finding places that can provide them both shelter and water to hide from predators and remain hydrated. Toads burrow by using their hind legs and strong toes to dig and push the soil behind them to sink into the mud. They may burrow into a hole and breathe through their skin, or keep their snout above ground to breathe through their lungs.

There Is a Toad on The Leaf

Here are some great places to look for toads on land during the day:

  • Under Leaves
  • Under Logs
  • Under Rocks
  • Near Tree-Stumps
  • In Mud
  • In Water During Mating Season

You may be tempted by looking for toads in holes you find in the forest. Be careful! Such holes may be homes to other wildlife like snakes or mice. Do not shove branches or objects down holes since this could disturb or harm other wildlife and their offspring.

3. Look For Toads At Night

Toads are nocturnal, and so the best time of day to search for them is in the late evening at night. Toads generally burrow during the day, but come out into the open at night to actively hunt and eat bugs such as mosquitoes, moths and flies. 

The first time I ever saw a toad it was at night in our backyard. I was playing on my swing and saw a baby toad at the base of the cherry tree. I wanted to see them more often, so I would go into the yard at dusk and watch all sizes of toads actively, crawl, hunt and eat bugs.

Looking For Toads at Night

Here are some of the best places to look for toads at night:

  • Near sources of light
  • On humid grass
  • Near the base of trees

Toads are generally attracted to sources of light at night because they attract the bugs that toads like to eat. If you are looking for toads at night, you should look wherever there could be bugs since that is what they are looking for.

4. Look For Toads Burrowed in The Mud

Toads spend the vast majority of their day burrowed in humid soil including mud, clay, silt, muck, decomposing vegetation or organic matter. Digging to find toads should be done with extreme caution in order to avoid harming them.

I put this tip last because it works, but can be very dangerous for the toad. There are also some rules you should follow when trying to find toads by digging. I generally avoid digging for toads in order to not disturb them in their natural habitat and recommend against doing this unless it is necessary for a logical reason (CTNF).

Tips when digging for toads:

The biggest issue with digging for toads is the risk of hurting them. They have very thin and sensitive skin that could be damaged with sharp tools. You truly should not dig for them around or during their hibernation periods as this could kill them. Be respectful of toads and use the other methods mentioned above in priority to observe them living their best lives.

More About Finding Toads

If you are looking for toads during the day, check forests and grasslands under piles of leaves, branches, rocks, or in mud. But the best time of day to search for toads is at night when they come out into the open to actively eat.

We have even more awesome tips on our blog that can help you find and attract toads and frogs. Check them out in the articles below:

Questions Related to Finding Toads

What is the best place to find a toad? Toads can generally be found in forests, grasslands and yards burrowed under the ground in humid areas such as beneath piles of leaves, branches, rocks, or in mud. In a yard, the best place to look for toads is under humidity-retaining objects such as tarps, garbage bags and planters.

Where do toads hide during the day? The best place to find a toad is under humid objects during the day in forests and grasslands, like under piles of leaves, branches, rocks, or in mud. Toads are generally easier to find at night where they are out in the open eating nocturnal bugs.

How do you find a toad in your house? If a toad gets into your home it will generally try to find a humid place to burrow and hide. Look for a toad in your home in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room and basement under appliances and any humidity-retaining objects. If your basement is not finished, the toad may burrow into the soil.


This article is written from many years of personal experience observing and finding toads, enjoy 🙂

Daniella Master Herpetologist

Daniella is a Master Herpetologist and the founder of toadsnfrogs.com, a website dedicated to educating the general population on frogs by meeting them where they are in their online Google Search. Daniella is passionate about frogs and put her digital marketing skills and teaching experience to good use by creating these helpful resources to encourage better education, understanding, and care for frogs.