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American Toads Preparing For Winter

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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10 responses

  1. Alice

    That’s a good sized Toad! My son spotted one last week, when we were out chopping, it was very ‘hoppy.’

    September 30, 2019 at 8:03 am

    • Alice

      My just 5 year old grand daughter asked how you found that Toad?

      September 30, 2019 at 4:06 pm

      • I’m afraid I didn’t find it. Ashley Wolff took the picture and I believe it was in her yard!

        September 30, 2019 at 6:22 pm

  2. Penny

    Good grief! “Find a burrow” sounds easiest. Do they turn around in spring and dig out backwards again?

    September 30, 2019 at 9:37 am

    • What a great question, Penny! I hadn’t even thought about that and have no idea!!! Probably it’s a bit easier getting out if the dirt hasn’t been packed down!

      September 30, 2019 at 1:03 pm

  3. kathiefive

    Being a toad requires perseverance, patience, and strength. Sleep safely, toads!

    September 30, 2019 at 9:47 am

  4. fascinating! 😊 Ellen Rowan

    On Mon, Sep 30, 2019 at 7:34 AM Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wrote:

    > Mary Holland posted: “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 o” >

    September 30, 2019 at 10:02 am

  5. Kit Emery

    Good Morning Mary! I’m Kit, Jody’s friend and I just want to THANK you so very much for the book you gave to her to give me. I don’t have it yet but we are meeting up so she can give it to me. I truly appreciate your wonderful gift! I love reading your posts and can’t wait to meet you!! Have a great day Mary! Kit emery Kaemery@gmavt.net

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    September 30, 2019 at 10:15 am

  6. Alice

    I will tell her about your reply! Thank you!

    September 30, 2019 at 7:32 pm

  7. Tamson

    Nighty-night, toads! See you in the spring!

    September 30, 2019 at 9:17 pm

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