Toads are my favorite animals and you may be surprised about where you can find them living, compared to most frogs. Although toads and frogs have many characteristics and features in common, toads and frogs differ in quite a few ways. One of the biggest differences is how and where toads live, as their lifestyle and habitat necessities vary from that of many other amphibians.
Toads can generally be found on every continent except Antarctica, and they predominantly live on land. Toads spend their days burrowed in leaf piles, mud, or under branches, making humid areas near ponds and streams an ideal habitat. They usually only return to water to mate.
While toads need water for their survival, they are generally not as attached to aquatic areas as much as many other amphibians. Join us as we discuss where toads live, why they live in these areas, and where amphibian enthusiasts might spot these interesting creatures.
Toads Live on Land
Most toads live on land and the most common toad habitats generally include grasslands, woodlands, and forests. They may also reside in humid locations near marshes, conservation areas, and freshwater bodies.
Toads live on every continent except Antarctica, as the cold environment and weather are not suitable for most life forms. Toads generally need shelter, food, and water for survival, irrespective of the species.
Some toad species prefer to live near water sources for convenience, as many natural water bodies and even artificial water features can serve multiple purposes. Such areas attract food sources, such as mosquitos, moths, and other nocturnal insects.
Ideal locations for toad habitats include natural rock formations, ponds, streams, and rivers. Toads are often found in piles of leaves, natural debris, groundcover, and leaf litter that create the perfect humid, hiding, and hunting spots.
A key factor is that high-current and saltwater are not favored by toads, as these areas are too rough for mating. Toads generally avoid saltwater if they can (although some have adapted to it) and prefer calm, current-free freshwater sources to lay eggs. In addition, most toads that choose habitats near water bodies will not be found too close to the water’s edge unless it is mating season.
Toads Live Burrowed Underground
Many toad species burrow in holes, ditches, and tunnels underground to hide from direct sunlight and stay cool, and hydrated during the day. Toads also engage in this behavior during winter for hibernation to escape the cold.
Toads have incredibly strong hind legs and toes, which they use to dig and eventually sink into the mud. The ideal soil for burrowing includes muck, silt, mud, clay, sand, organic matter, or decomposing vegetation.
When underground, toads use a combination of their physical features for breathing. Toads use their skin for breathing, but they often keep their snouts out of the ground to receive air and breathe through their lungs.
Toads are commonly found in people’s yards under garbage bags, compost, tarps, plastic objects, or planters that retain moisture. Toads are attracted to backyards because of the presence of bugs, moisture, and shelter.
Many toad species choose a more creative approach to the terrestrial lifestyle by using their environment’s qualities. They do this by targeting moist and humidity-retaining objects, even if they are made of plastic. Toads can often be found in people’s yards, gardens, or window wells (egress windows).
Toads search for humidity to stay cool and hydrated. While natural debris can be used for hiding and hunting, toads also use these areas for their comfort. Moisture can be drawn from the humidity in the air, shelter, or ground (CTNF).
Toads Are Especially Active in Their Habitat At Night
Before going ahead on your toad-seeking adventures as I do very often, make sure you know the toad species’ lifestyle and habits. Regardless of the species and location, toads can typically be found on humid land a few feet from a freshwater source.
Where To Find Toads At Night
I go out looking for toads at night right at sunset, it is the best time to find them! Toads are generally nocturnal, meaning they are more active during low light hours. Be sure to bring a flashlight and a good camera.
Here are some places to find toads at night:
- Near marshes
- Conservation areas
- Near tree bases
- Near light sources
- On moist or humid grass
That being said, there are some cases where toads can be spotted during the day as well. Within some species, juvenile toads are known for wandering during the day, while the adults will be up and ready to hunt at night.
Where To Find Toads During The Day
If you only have a few hours to spare during the day and still want to catch a glimpse of local toad species, don’t fret, as there are still a few ways to spot them. However, keep in mind that toads may be hiding during the day, and it will be tricky to spot them.
Still, you may be lucky enough to find a few discrete toads if you know where to look! Keep an eye out for toad snouts, as this may be the only visible body part. The rest of their bodies may be concealed by natural matter or shadows.
- In mud or moist soil
- Under logs
- Under rocks
- In leaf piles
- In groundcover
- Near tree stumps
If there is one place where you should not look for toads it is in water. Toads do not live in water, although they need hydration to survive. Generally, toads are born in water as eggs that evolve into tadpoles but only return to water during the mating season.
Depending on the location and circumstances, some toads may return to the water body that they were born in. In other cases, toads will simply find the nearest and most appropriate water body for mating depending on water flow and safety.
More About Where Toads Live
Knowing where toads live and why they seek out these areas is the best way to catch a glimpse of them in their natural habitat. However, toads and offspring can be harmed or traumatized by curious enthusiasts without proper precaution.
Be kind and gentle when interacting with toads. Do not touch them and just let them do their thing. You will see that some of them will be very curious and may stick around with you while others may freeze up and play dead, and some may hop away very fast and hide.
Never use sharp objects to move around debris in search of toads, as their skin is sensitive and prone to injury. Always remember to respect toad homes by keeping a safe distance during your adventures.
Learn more about where to find toads in the complete guides on our blog:
- 14 Places to Find Toads in Your Yard
- 4 Easy Ways to Find Toads in The Wild
- What Types of Toads Can You Find in Canada?
- What Toads Can You Find Toads in the USA?
- Do Toads And Frogs Get Along?
- 32 Easy Way to Find All Types of Frogs
- 4 Easy Ways to Find Toads in The Wild
- 10 Tips to Find Aquatic Frogs in The Wild
- 8 Tips to Find Tree Frogs
Common Questions About Where Toads Live
Do toads live in the ground? Toads generally live underground burrowed in cool, humid places out of the sun during the day. Toads can generally be found burrowed underground or hiding under leaves, or branches during the day, and out hunting for food at night.
Where do toads mainly live? Toads mainly live underground in grasslands, woodlands, forests, near marshes, conservation areas, and freshwater bodies.
Do toads live in water or land? Toads live on land during the toadlet and adult stages of their development. However, toads are born and transform into tadpoles in water during the early stages of development. Once they lose their tail they spend most of their time living on land.
What is the home of toad? The ideal home for a toad consists of a place with food, clean freshwater, and shelter. Toads require a home where they can burrow during the day and ambush bugs and other food sources at night. Access to clean, freshwater is also essential for a toad’s survival.
This article is written from many years of personal experience observing and finding toads, enjoy 🙂