Geographical Range Southeastern Wyoming
Habitat Wetlands
Scientific Name Bufo baxteri
Conservation Status Extinct in the wild

Tiny Toad

At its full size, the Wyoming toad is only two inches long. This toad looks lumpy - its body is covered with warts and its head has a humped ridge. The skin is various shades of brown - perfect for blending in and escaping would-be predators.

Changing Tastes

As tadpoles, Wyoming toads eat mostly plant matter, like algae. As adults, they are carnivores, preying on insects, larvae - just about any small critter that moves!

This Toad Needs Glasses!

How can an insect avoid being eaten by a Wyoming toad? By standing still! This toad has such poor eyesight that it tends to miss prey unless it's moving.

The Circle of Life

In the spring and summer, male toads gather at breeding ponds and call to attract mates. After a male finds his match, he clasps her from behind. The female releases a string of eggs, and the male fertilizes the eggs as they reach the water. The tadpoles hatch between three and 20 days later, depending on the water temperature. Now metamorphosis begins: the tadpoles lose their tail and develop limbs and lungs, transforming into adult toads.

Can You Dig It?

Wyoming toads are at home in wetland areas, spending most of their time in and around water. They're most active at night. During the day they burrow, digging with special knobs on their hind feet.

The Toad That Bounced Back

Talk about an amazing comeback! In 1994, Wyoming toads were virtually extinct in the wild. They faced a lot of problems, including toxic pesticides that were used in their habitat. Things were looking so bad for the toads that scientists in Wyoming brought the last remaining wild toads into captivity in 1994. Thanks to captive breeding efforts, Wyoming toads are being reintroduced back into the wild. While these animals are on their way to recovery, they aren't out of the woods yet: the wild populations are not yet self-sustaining (still relying on the regular release of captive-reared toads). For this reason, IUCN continues to list the toad as extinct in the wild (see Conservation Status). But as conservation efforts continue, the wild populations will grow and may eventually become self-sustaining.

Fun Fact

All toads secrete poison from glands on their neck. If an animal tries to eat a toad, that would-be predator gets a nasty surprise! Toad poison causes reactions ranging from upset stomach to death. Survivors of such a poisoning tend to steer clear of toads in the future!

Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Bufonidae