Amphibians are one of the types of animals that can survive in different climates and conditions, but in general, they are highly vulnerable to extreme cold conditions.
Toads are abundant and easy to find during the summer period and spring, but in winter, they seem to go missing.
Their sudden disappearance during the cold seasons makes animal lovers wonder where they go and what they do during the most challenging seasons of the year. But where do toads go in the winter? Do toads hibernate? If yes, where?
These are some of the questions we will explore in this article!
Where Do Toads Go In The Winter?
Toads in cold climates hibernate in the winter, they burrow underground during the winter seasons, seeking shelter around over 3 ft below the frost line since toads are not freezing tolerant.
By digging deep down into loose soil, they are insulated from freezing temperatures. In other words, toads survives shelter from the cold by hibernating and absorbing oxygen through their body or skin from the surrounding soil.
That said, you can provide toads comfortable and safe winter relaxation by building a hibernaculum (place to hibernate).
See Also: Where Do Frogs Go In The Winter?
Common Toads Hibernation Locations
- Rodent Burrows:38% of toads stay here during winter
- Under large Rocks: 27% of toads stay here during winter
- Under Logs or Root Was: 19% of toads remain here during the winter period.
- Under Banks Adjacent To Streams: About 15% of toads stay here during the winter.
Although most toads hibernate underground during winter, many other factors still influence their survival rates. We will further discuss some of the most common area toads used for hibernation during the winter seasons and how they manage to survey the extremely cold condition of the climate.
Toads Hibernate Underground During The Winter Period
Toads usually hibernate on land; usually, 3 ft below the ground, there is the frost line. Toads usually hibernate in rodent tunnels under natural crevices and rocks, and they typically prefer soft sand, which helps them to create their burrows.
They usually borrow in groups only when hibernation sites are scarce.
They equally seek shelter in the warmest of places, and this involves areas that are well shielded from snow and frost.
However, these areas are most common throughout different regions, but in addition, toads are very creative with their hibernation locations.
Using other underground spaces is generally preferred as this helps to save time and energy for the toads as winter draws near.
Other common Hibernation Areas For Toads
- Peat hummocks
- Red squirrel middens
- Decayed root tunnels
- Cavities under the trees
- Natural crevices systems
- Abandoned beaver lodges
- Spruce-dominated tree stands
- Common muskrat tunnels
Natural crevices and different underground locations are usually easy to find in most areas. Usually, not all toads have access to these areas.
Due to these reasons, many roads resort to finding their suitable location a d creating their different hideaway.
These amphibians are well equipped with unique feet; while frogs have padded and webbed feet for swimming and climbing, toads, on a regular basis, have solid spades and finger-shaped feet for digging.
Like other amphibians, toads generally prefer softer sands or soil; this type of soil is very easy to burrow through for hibernation purposes.
Toads, in general, usually hibernate in isolation wherever possible. However, depending on available resources, this may not be available in the wild.
Toads, at times, depending on the available resources, may hibernate in groups, this may not be ideal for toads, but it increases the survival rate of the species and increases continuation.
What Happens If Toads Do Not Find Suitable Locations?
If toads, in general, do not find well and suitable shelter to hibernate throughout the freezing winters, they are likely to be exposed to very harsh cool conditions and will likely pass away from freezing.
Another important risk is that the toads may be disturbed from their hibernation state too soon if they choose the wrong location; this can lead to what is called “winter kill.”
Unlike some other amphibians, toads are usually not freeze-tolerant creatures, they cannot for their bodily functions to be able to survey in harsh colds, and if left exposed to these conditions, they will die.
Research and studies have reported that toads can die at temperatures between 29°F and 23°F.
Because of their vulnerability to different and icy conditions, finding a good hibernation spot can be very challenging to find. When toads find a good location for hibernation, they usually return to the exact location each year for hibernation.
How Do Toads Survive The Winter?
The hibernation location of toads plays a massive role in their survival chances and will significantly impact how much cold toads are exposed to. However, toads will not surge for long if they do not find a suitable location.
Toads usually start preparing for the winter season well in advance, and they typically begin preparing immediately after the mating season ends.
Before winter, toads generally eat a large amount of food to serve as a reserve to ensure enough nourishment to maintain vital bodily functions while hibernating.
After a series of research, the United States department of agriculture estimated that one adult toad usually consumes up to 10,000 pests over a single summer to acquire sufficient stored nutrition for winter.
Toads usually overeat throughout the year to have enough food for reserves in winter, and their overall size can easily change. It is prevalent for people to witness plum toads throughout the summer season.
A widespread misconception is that toads usually hibernate near water Sources; this method is widely spread among many frog species. Toads only need water primarily for hydration, finding prey, and reproduction. But generally, they do not usually need to hibernate near water bodies.
How To Help Toads Hibernate
If the region you’re staying in usually experiences chilling colds and very extreme freezing temperatures throughout the winter, the toads in your area will undoubtedly need to hibernate to survive.
Are Toads Different from Frogs?
Yes, toads and frogs are different, and their body shapes differ, but they have something in common, they hibernate in the cold season.
What Happens If Toads Don’t Hibernate?
If toads don’t hibernate in the cold season, they will likely die. This is why hibernation has become a natural requirement for toads to survive.