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Canadian Toad

The Canadian Toad is easy to recognise because it wears a toque and plays hockey in the winter! Just kidding, although that would be something to see. The Canadian Toad was once a common inhabitant of the northern Interior Plains, and was not considered to be declining in Canada as recently as the mid-1980s. In the past 10 years, however, Canadian Toads have declined sharply in numbers or disappeared in some areas of central Alberta and populations in other areas of the range such as Manitoba and Wyoming may be declining as well. In Alberta, the Canadian Toad is included on the Red List of species that current information suggests are at risk of declining in the province.

Under the Alberta Wildlife Act, Canadian Toads are legally designated as a non-game animal, which states that individuals may not be killed, possessed or sold without a permit.

Relatively little is known about the habitat requirements of Canadian Toads. The species has historically been found in grassland, aspen parkland, and boreal forest regions across its range. The Canadian Toad is thought to be more aquatic than other toads. For example, Canadian Toads are found frequently in meadows and willow bogs near water in northeastern Alberta, and are the only toad species occupying a habitat of plentiful wetlands amid tall grass prairie, aspen and willow in northwestern Minnesota.

Canadian Toads move to their hibernation site by early to mid-September in Alberta and the Northwest Territories, but such movements may begin as early as late August in Minnesota. Adults tend to begin hibernating earlier than juveniles. Both age classes show strong homing abilities to specific wintering sites. In northern regions, hibernation sites often contain many individuals. For instance, groups of several hundred hibernating individuals have been observed near the Alberta/Northwest Territories border, and in Minnesota. Individuals occupy separate burrows within wintering sites, and may change depth in response to soil temperatures. Individual burrows as deep as 117 centimetres have been reported.

To learn about other species at risk click here.