Eastern American Toad


Scientific Name: Clonophis kirtlandii
Size: 2 – 4.4” (adult length)
Status: Generally common. Has experienced recent declines in parts of its Great Lakes range.

Eastern American Toad



Habitat generalist. Found in open woodlands and forest edges, prairies, meadows, marshes, suburban areas, and agricultural land.

Adult Coloration:

Highly variable coloration ranges from tan, brown, or red-brown to gray or olive. Often dark rounded spots on back. Throat and underside pale with black or gray spots that concentrate on the chest.

Adult Characteristics:

Typical toad with a short stout body, warts on skin, and short back legs. Walk or hop rather than making long leaps like frogs. If spots present on back, each contains one or two warts. Large oval or kidney-shaped parotoid glands behind eyes. Larger warts present on lower hind legs. Males are usually smaller and have dark enlarged thumbs on front feet. Also have a grayish flap of skin on the throat which constitutes the vocal pouch. Voice: High pitched trill that can last more than 30 seconds. e.g., http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6-8pC8o5fw

Larvae Characteristics:

Tadpoles are very small, and black or dark brown with round bodies and narrow, rounded tails. Often observed in suburban ponds and will often school in moderately large groups.

Species Confused With:

Fowler’s is our only other toad, and usually has three or more warts per dorsal spot and no enlarged warts on the hind legs. Fowler’s Toads have a largely unmarked belly, though a few individuals may have sparse dark spots on the chest. This species may hybridize with the Eastern American Toad, with offspring showing either a blending of traits or characteristics of one of the parent species.


  • Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region by Jim Harding
  • Harding, J.H. and J.A. Holman. 1992. Michigan Frogs, Toads, and Salamanders. MSU Cooperative Extension Service and MSU Museum. Extension Bull. E-2350, 144 pp.
  • Ruthven, A. G., H. B. T. Gaige, et al. 1912. The herpetology of Michigan, by Alexander B. Ruthven. Crystal Thompson and Helen Thompson; Memoranda towards a bibliography of the archaeology of Michigan, by Harlan I. Smith; prepared under the direction of Alexander G. Ruthven. Lansing, Mich., Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford, State Printers.
  • Holman, J. A. 2012. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Michigan: A Quaternary and Recent Faunal Adventure. Detroit, Mich., Wayne State University Press.
  • Conant, R., and Collins, J. T. 1998. Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern, Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Press.