Amphibians and reptiles

Western Toad

Watch out for toads!

Did you know the only known breeding ground in the Northwest Territories for the Western toad - a Species at Risk - is near the mouth of the Muskeg River? During the spring and summer, the toads must cross the Liard Highway near the Muskeg River bridge, making them vulnerable to traffic. When driving in this area, please watch for road signs and our Western toads!

A female Western toad can live for nine years, but will probably only breed once in her entire lifetime, so it's important that drivers watch out for vulnerable toads crossing the road near their breeding site.

If you observe any toads, please let us know! Contact the ENR Dehcho Regional office or email wildlifeobs@gov.nt.ca.

Western toads
Watch for Western toads on the Liard Highway near the Muskeg River bridge!

Western toad crossing
Western Toads are vulnerable when crossing the Liard Highway near the Muskeg River bridge.

Description

The Western Toad is a large toad with a light stripe down the middle of the back and small round or oval  ‘warts’ on the back, sides and upper limbs. Western Toads are usually green or brown, but their colour varies from olive green to reddish brown or black. Newly hatched tadpoles and toadlets are black.

Unlike male Western toads in most of Alberta, Western toads in the NWT do not possess vocal sacs and belong to the 'non-calling population'.

Toads can range in size from tiny toadlets, about the size of a dime, to larger adults about the size of a softball.

Length: Newly hatched tadpole: 1 cm (0.4 in); Adult (snout to vent) 5-12 cm (1.9 - 4.7 in)

 

photo courtesy of: Floyd Bertand

 

Western toad
Western Toad. photo courtesy of: Fraser Valley Conservatory

 

Status

In 2014, the Northwest Territories (NWT) Species at Risk Committee assessed the Western Toad as Threatened in the NWT because of its small range and concern about threats. In 2016, the Western Toad was listed as Threatened in the NWT under the territorial Species at Risk (NWT) Act. An NWT recovery strategy for the Western Toad was required within two years of listing. This requirement has been met through the development of an NWT Amphibian Management Plan, which considers the needs of all amphibians in the NWT.