Smooth-sided Toad

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Scientific name: Bufo guttatus

The basics:
This rainforest gem, something of a giant among toads, is not often available, and likely declining in the wild. As most Smooth-sided Toads in the trade are wild caught, they are best left to experienced keepers who can provide the veterinary care that new imports often require.

The Smooth-sided Toad’s range extends from southern Ecuador east to the Guianas and south to Amazonian Bolivia and Brazil, South America. It seems limited to swampy areas and riversides within rainforests.

Appearance / health:
Vying with the Cane Toad for the title of the world’s largest toad, females may reach 25 cm (10 in) in length. The thick-set body is tan to mottled brown in color, with a broad, white-bordered back stripe along the side of the head and body. In contrast to most toads, the skin is quite smooth.

Smooth-sided Toads seem not as hardy or long-lived as related species, reaching only 10-12 years of age. As many are wild-caught, parasitic infections and shipment-related injuries are commonly encountered health problems.

Behavior / Temperament:
Smooth-sided Toads are fairly shy by nature, but in time may settle in and abandon their nocturnal ways. They rarely exhibit the boldness typical of other toads, however.

These delicate creatures should be handled only when necessary, and then with wet hands so that the skin’s protective mucus is not removed. Amphibian skin secretions may cause irritations when transferred to their owner’s wounds, eyes, or the mouth.

A 55 gallon tank makes a good home for 1-2 adults. Sphagnum or carpet moss may be used as the substrate, and plenty of live or artificial plants, leaf litter, and cork bark rolls should be provided to assure that your pet will feel secure. Smooth-sided Toads fare best when kept at a range of 75-82 F, and a humidity level of 60-85%. They need only a simple water bowl, which should be changed daily. Chlorine and chloramine must be removed from water via liquid preparations available at pet stores.

A highly-varied diet is essential. Earthworms, roaches, sow bugs, crickets, locusts, butterworms, calciworms and other commercially-available insects will all be readily accepted. Minnows, crayfish and the occasional pink mouse are useful calcium sources. Most meals should be coated with a powdered Calcium/Vitamin D3 supplement. A vitamin mineral supplement may be used 2-3x weekly.

Captive breeding is rare. Males may be distinguished from females by their smaller size. A commercial rain chamber, or increased misting, may stimulate breeding behavior at almost any time of the year.

Gravid female toads produce up to 10,000+ eggs. At 75-80 F, the tadpoles hatch within 7-10 days and transform at age 6 weeks. They may be reared on a diet of fish food flakes, commercial tadpole pellets, and par-boiled kale.

Written by Frank Indiviglio

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