Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Paul Thompson
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The western toad, Anaxyrus boreas, inhabits western Canada and much of the western (especially northwestern) United States. It occurs throughout most of Utah, and can be found in a variety of habitats, including slow moving streams, wetlands, desert springs, ponds, lakes, meadows, and woodlands. The western toad, which is inactive during cold winter months, may either dig its own burrow in loose soil or use the burrows of other small animals.

Adults feed on numerous types of small invertebrates, such as ants, beetles, and grasshoppers, whereas larvae (tadpoles) filter algae from the water or feed on detritus. Adults are dusky gray or greenish in color with considerable dark blotching on the back and belly, and can usually be identified by a light-colored stripe along the back. The breeding season of the western toad varies, depending on geographic location.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Stebbins, R. C. 1985. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 336 pp.