Western Toad in Texas

Asked May 15, 2014, 10:43 PM EDT

We found what appears to be Western Toad ( Bufo boreas) eggs in our backyard pond. Is that species of toad harmful/invasive to the native Texas habitat? Should we kill the tadpoles or release young toads in our community parks/creeks?

Travis County Texas

1 Response

Unless you have an advanced degree in herpetology (I do not, but perhaps you do) I would say leave the eggs/tadpoles alone and let them disperse naturally. Texas has 10 different species of toads, and several could possibly be confused as Bufo boreas. Go to http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/wild/wildlife_diversity/texas_nature_trackers/amphibian_watch/a... to view the different species we have here in Texas. The reason I say leave them alone to disperse naturally is that Travis county borders Bastrop county. Bastrop county has the largest population of Houston toads (Bufo houstonensis). Houston toads are critically endangered and are found in only about 9 or 10 counties in Texas. While the Houston toad tends to be smaller, the coloration and markings could be confused with that of a western toad to the untrained eye (again I am not a herpetologist). It is more likely that the toad you saw was a Woodhouse's toad or Gulf coast toad, which look similar to a western toad.

If you really need more information, I would contact Andy Gluesenkamp (andy.gluesenkamp@tpwd.texas.gov), the Texas Parks and Wildlife herpetologist. However, he would need some very good close up photos of the actual adult toad or some actual samples of the tadpoles in order to properly identify them.