Anaxyrus terrestrisSouthern Toad

Geographic Range

Anaxyrus terrestris occupies areas from North Carolina to Florida

and west to the Mississippi River. It is commonly found in the

coastal states of the Southeast. Its westernmost range enters

into eastern Louisiana. The northern range extends into

southeastern Virginia (Wright 1949).


Inhabits sandy areas, cultivated fields, pine barrens and hammocks (Mount 1975).

Physical Description

Anaxyrus terrestris is a medium-sized toad in which adults of the species can attain snout vent lengths between 41mm and 92mm. Males usually average between 42-82mm and females slightly larger between 44-92mm (Wright 1949). Much larger specimens, however, have been found on islands along the coasts of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. The most distinguishing characteristic is the knobs found on the head which are actually extensions of the interorbital ridges. As usual with a member of the family Bufonidae, parotoid glands are present and the skin is warty. The warts are often spine-tipped. The spotted and mottled dorsal coloration can vary from shades of brick red to black. The ventral side is lighter. Post orbital ridges are not in contact with the parotoids but are connected to them by a backward projecting spur (Mount 1975).

  • Average mass
    19.267 g
    0.68 oz
  • Average basal metabolic rate
    0.00698 W



This species breeds during wet-weather periods from around the first of March to late May (Mount 1975). However, occasionally continue on to September (Wright 1949). Breeding usually occurs on the edges of small permanent ponds, woodland pools, or flooded depressions. As is the case of closely related Bufo fowleri, Anaxyrus terrestris will never breed in creeks or rivers. The eggs which number between 2500-3000 are laid in long coils of jelly which hatch within 2-4 days. Anaxyrus terrestris spends 30-55 days as a tadpole before metamorphasing upon attaining a length between 6.5-11mm (Wright 1949).

  • Average number of offspring
  • Average time to hatching
    3 days


  • Average lifespan
    Status: captivity
    10 years


Anaxyrus terrestris becomes active at twilight, foraging into the night. Its daylight hours are spent in hiding usually in burrows that it takes itself. The call of A. terrestris resembles that of Bufo americanus. The shrill, musical trill or drone lasts between 2 and 8 seconds with intervals lasting as long as a minute. A chorus of A. terrestris can be extremely loud and can be heard at quite a distance away. (Conant and Collins, 1998)

Food Habits

A. terrestris generally feeds on a variety of insects and

invertebrates (Bullpine Forestry 1999).

Conservation Status


Jayson Egeler (author), Michigan State University, James Harding (editor), Michigan State University.



living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature

external fertilization

fertilization takes place outside the female's body


union of egg and spermatozoan


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.


"Southern Toad" (On-line). Accessed November 15, 1999 at

"Southern Toad" (On-line). Accessed November 15, 1999 at

"Southern Toad" (On-line). Accessed December 6th, 1999 at

Conant, R., J. Collins. 1998. Peterson Field Guides, Amphibians and Reptiles 3rd edition. Houghton Mifflin Company.

Mount, R. 1975. Reptiles and Amphibians of Alabama. Auburn University Agricultural Experiment Station.

Wright, A., A. Wright. 1949. Handbook of Frogs and Toads of the U.S. and Canada 3rd edition. Ithaca N.Y.: Comstock Publishing Co..