Wart’s Up?

Wyoming toad (Anaxyrus baxteri)

Wyoming toad (Anaxyrus baxteri)

Cute Frog of the Week: February 21, 2011

This lumpy looking, wart-covered Wyoming toad (Anaxyrus baxteri) may not be easy on the eyes, but it probably doesn’t even know it–Wyoming toads can’t see very well. At about two inches in length, its spots and brown color help it blend in. So does the cover of night, when the toads are most active.

Up until the early 1970s, the Wyoming toad was abundant in the Laramie Plains of none other than Wyoming. Within a few years, the species had a major population crash most likely due to pesticides, fertilizers, habitat loss, climate change, and the chytrid fungus. In 1994, the remaining six toads were removed from Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge and placed in a captive breeding program. There are now several Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) participants, including Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service facilities housing breeding populations. Through extensive captive breeding efforts, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has produced more than 5,000 tadpoles for release. Unfortunately the reintroduction of this species has been slow to take hold due to chyrtid present in the reintroduction sites, predation and other diseases. To learn more, visit Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Wyoming toad page.

Photo credit: Jeff Baughman, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Every week the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project posts a new photo of a cute frog from anywhere in the world with an interesting, fun and unique story to tell. Be sure to check back every Monday for the latest addition.

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