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The Care of Common Toads

Updated on August 4, 2012

Toad Care

This hub will be about the care of American toads, or southern toads (the toads people think of when they think "toad"). I choose these species because they are representative of most of the toads you will have as pets. It is important to note, though, that the term "toad" refers to many species of frogs from all over the world, some tropical, some semi-aquatic, and some from deserts. It is important to find information on your species specifically.

Housing

The great features of toads as pets are they are not fast or high jumpers, they aren't good climbers, and they can take dryer conditions than frogs. This makes housing them simple. A regular 20 gallon long tank will house two 3 inch individuals. I keep one in a 20 gallon, but that's simply because one is all I have. Provide the toad with a substrate deep enough for it to burrow in. I use a mix of 2 parts coco-fiber, 2 parts peat, and 1 part sand. Provide the toad with various places to hide (logs, boxes, rocks, piles of moss), and a water bowl. The tank does not have to be misted daily. Simply wet it everytime the top 1/2 of soil dries out (or once a week). No lighting is required as toads are nocturnal, and temperate species will require no special heating.

Diet

Toads will eat any living thing that can fit in their mouth. The big cane toads have been known to eat snakes, lizards, and mice. Your toad however will do fine on a diet consisting of various invertebrates. I feed mine crickets, earth worms, grubs, wax worms, katydids, and almost anything else I find. I avoid hard beetle since mine spits them out. Food should be dusted once a week with a vitamin/calcium powder to ensure proper nutrition.

Handling

Toads can be handled far more than frogs, but they still should not be handled a lot. After handling avoid putting you hands in your mouth or eyes (until they are washed) as toads secrete poison from glands behind their eyes. They do not give you warts!

Toads make wonderful, easy to care for pets. with proper care they can live for many years. I have had my pet toad, Big Ben, for 13 yrs. He is a southern toad (Bufo terrestris). If you would like to read the story of how I caught him when I was just a little boy check out the link below.

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