Bufo woodhousii
(Woodhouse's Toad)

Key Characteristics:

Adult Characteristics

Tadpole Characteristics

Egg Characteristics

Cranial crests

Dark colored
with mottling

Long two
stranded string

Long oval shaped parotoid glands

Tail dark above,
light below

Single gel layer

Light vertebral stripe

Eyes don't extend to margin of head

Darkly pigmented

Horizontal pupil

Round body with a jutting snout


Two tubercles on
hind feet

  .  .      

Males call


General Description:
Woodhouse's Toads are fair sized anurans reaching sizes up to125mm (5 in.) for females and around 100mm (4 in.) for males. The color varies from light gray to brown dorsally. The ground color is generally marked with contrasting spots. The spots are generally located on the "warts" or bumps containing the poison glands. The ventral coloration is usually a light yellow to cream with dusky flecks on the throat and chest. These toads can easily be identified by the cranial crests found on the top of the head. The two ridges form what has been described as "back to back Ls". The parotoid glands also distinguish this toad from the other Bufo species found in Idaho. Woodhouse's Toads have long oval shaped parotoid glands (Western Toads have shorter more rounded parotoid glands).  Woodhouse's Toads have two horny tubercles on each hind foot.  During the breeding season males will call from breeding sites to attract females. The call has been likened to a bleating lamb or a "waaaaah".

Woodhouse's Toad tadpoles generally have a dark overall coloring with mottling and the tail is lighter ventrally. The eyes on these tadpoles don't reach the margin of the head (they are inset). These tadpoles can attain a size around 25mm (1 in.). Tadpoles of Woodhouse's Toads can be difficult to distinguish from Western Toad tadpoles.

Woodhouse's Toad eggs are laid in a double-stranded string that is characteristic of many toads. The eggs are 1 to 1.5mm in diameter and can be distinguished from Western Toad eggs by the presence of a single gel layer (Western Toad eggs have 2).

Idaho Distribution:
This species is found throughout most of U.S., portions of northern Mexico, and northern shore of Lake Erie in Canada. Absent from parts of New England and Florida, from high mountains of West, and from West Coast.

Woodhouse's Toads are restricted to the western portion of Idaho, particularly along the Snake River and its associated drainages.

Found in grasslands, shrub steppe, woods, river valleys, floodplains, and agricultural lands, usually in areas with deep, friable soils.

Woodhouse's Toads are typically found in habitats such as prairies, agricultural areas and brushy flats often associated with a water source. The water source may vary from irrigation ditches, ponds, small lakes to backwaters of the Snake River. Even though there is generally water in the area, they may forage quite a distance from the water source that they mate and lay eggs in.

Metamorphosed toads eat various small, terrestrial arthropods. Larvae eat suspended matter, organic debris, algae, and plant tissue.

Mostly nocturnal, but diurnal activity is not uncommon. Active in wet or dry weather. Inactive during cold months of fall, winter, and early spring. When inactive, burrows underground, or hides under rocks, plants, or other cover.

Breeding choruses may last a few weeks. Female lays clutch of up to 25,000 eggs in spring or summer (depending on geography), usually after heavy rains. Larvae metamorphose in 1-2 mo (by end of July in some locations), and in some areas reach sexual maturity in 2 yr.



Unprotected nongame species

Global Rank:


State Rank:


Species description, key characteristics and original work by John Cossel Jr. © 1997
Species ecological information from Groves et al. ©1997.
Original images provided by Charles R. Peterson and Charlotte C. Corkran,© 1997
Design and Optimization by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
DAI layout by
Stephen Burton, and Mike Legler © 1999.