Woodhouse's Toad

On my many hikes at South Platte Park, I occasionally run across a Woodhouse's toad, especially during their breeding season of April through June.  This medium sized toad inhabits Central and Western regions of North America, from the Great Plains through the Intermountain West and from the Canadian border to Mexico; four subspecies have been recognized.

Like most toads, they prefer riparian corridors where vegetation provides cover and attracts insects and where seasonal pools and ponds are available for breeding.  Primarily nocturnal, Woodhouse's toad is best identified by the sheep-like bleating of the males and is best observed at dawn or dusk.  During the day, these amphibians burrow into loose soil or leaf litter to escape the drying effects of the intense western sun; deeper burrows are utilized for winter hibernation.

In Colorado, Woodhouse's toads inhabit stream channels across the Plains, riparian corridors of the Piedmont and foothill canyons to an elevation of 8000 feet.  They consume a wide variety of insects and other invertebrates and are preyed upon by herons, raccoons and snakes.