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Can Toads Live in Water?



Toads CAN live in water.

Like all amphibians, toads spend a portion of their lives in water and are dependent on it for reproduction and incubation of offspring. Toads are one of the most well known, readily recognized amphibians, other examples being frogs, salamanders and newts. Though adult amphibians have lungs and live primarily on land, they must seek moist habitats to keep their smooth skin wet.

Mating Habits of Toads

When mating season arrives, generally a time of year preceded by increased rain, the male toad finds a puddle, a pool of water or a pond and begins calling for a female. An attracted female makes her way to the male’s watery den, where the toads mate. She lays her eggs in the water in long strands anchored to plants.

Life Begins in the Water

Thousands of tiny black tadpoles hatch from the eggs in about a week and propel themselves through the water using their tails. At this point in development, they breathe through gills and cannot survive out of water. Immediately, the tadpoles begin eating algae and other plant material. Over the next month, the small tadpoles increase in size, grow legs and acquire lungs.

Becoming Land Dwellers

As the tadpoles’ gills and much of their tails begin to be reabsorbed, they become toadlets. These almost adult toads have legs and lungs and are able to crawl out of the water onto the land. A bit of their tail still remains, however. Until they grow more, they must return to the water frequently as they are still fragile and will dehydrate quite easily. Very shortly they mature to adult toads, spending most of their time on land. Nonetheless, the need for hydration, temperature regulation and mating drives adult toads back into the water, where the cycle will begin again.



“American Toad.” FCPS Home Page Redirect Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2012.

“Toad Lifecycle.” College of Sciences | University of Nevada, Las Vegas. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2012.

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