Wyoming Toad

ZOO LOCATION: The Loft and Conservation Center

Lifespan: About 8-10 years

Wild Diet: Small insects.

Zoo Diet: Crickets, mealworms

Predators: Do not have many predators because of their nasty taste but populations are greatly impacted by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd).

SSP: Yes

IUCN Status: Extinct in the Wild

Habitat/Range: Found only in the Laramie Basin, within 30 miles of Laramie, Wyoming, USA.

Characteristics: The adult Wyoming toad averages 2.2 inches in length. The dorsal surface (back) has rounded warts. The background color is dark brown, gray or greenish with small dark blotches.The belly is spotted, males with a dark throat. The adult is smaller than other toad species and has fused cranial crests, or a bony hump, between the eyes.

Behavior: This temperate-zone amphibian is adapted to a short period of activity. Males attract females with their calls and breeding occurs in mid-May to mid-June.

Reproduction: Lays hundreds of eggs incased in a long tube of jelly. Eggs hatch in a matter of days, between 3 and 20, depending on the water temperature.

Conservation: Wyoming toads were listed as federally endangered in 1984, at which time they were feared to be extinct. Biologists and experts in the field believe that the toad's decline may have been caused by pollution from pesticide runoff, habitat destruction, disease and acid rain. However, in 1987 a breeding population was discovered on a rancher's land at Mortenson Lake, Wyoming. Captive breeding was initiated in 1988 on a small scale, and in 1994 the last remaining Wyoming toads from the dwindling population were captured to begin a massive captive-breeding effort. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo cares for a collection of these critically endangered toads in our off-exhibit Amphibian Conservation Center. In 2008 our toads produced over 3,000 tadpoles! 2,500 of those were released back into the wild. We are currently releasing tadpoles into the Laramie Basin and participating in survey studies to determine their population in the wild.