In the Northeast, sometime in September or October you realize that you’re no longer seeing American Toads. This is because they are taking steps that allow them to survive over the winter. These steps consist of either finding another animal’s burrow or digging their own (up to 20 inches or so deep) in order to hibernate below the frost line.
As the photograph illustrates, toads dig their tunnels facing forward, using their hind legs to do the digging. Special hardened knobs on their hind feet assist them in this endeavor. As they dig deeper, the tunnel in front of them collapses. When deep enough to hopefully avoid being frozen, they stop digging and hibernate until the soil begins to warm. Come April or May, American Toads dig their way up to the surface of the ground and head for breeding ponds. (Photo by Ashley Wolff)
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