American Bell Toads
American Bell Toads, what do they look like? How do they behave? What do you need to know about American Bell Toads?
The American Bell Toad is a tiny, solitary animal that favors cool streams and moist woodsy areas. It is found throughout Washington, Oregon, northern California, Montana, and British Columbia. They dwell under rocks in perennial, usually swiftly flowing mountain springs. Heavy rainfall has been known to push them outwards into surrounding wooded areas.
This small toad is usually gray, pink , brown or black in coloring. The female's back is usually shaded grayish olive to citrine drab. The male's skin leans towards kaiser brown, to an almost hazel. There can be numerous black spots on top of the frogs legs and also on their back. There is also a bar across their head ranging in color from pale green to pale yellow. Their underbelly is lighter in color. It usually a light orange-yellow with a hint of pink. The females belly is lighter than the males. Their 'fingers' unlike the webbed toes are long, thin and unwebbed.
The head is slightly flattened more broad than long, with a snout obtusely pointed. The American Bell Toad's skin fairly smooth, marked occasionally by roughened patches of granules, wrinkles, warts and small tubercles. The male has a tail that lies to the ventral side of the body. It is an interomittent organ. The lower jaw protrudes in an almost perfect semi-circle and houses a tongue that cannot be protruded. Neither the female or the male possess a vocal sac.
Breeding season starts in May and continues through September. Breeding males have prominent dark excretions on the inner edge of their fingers, forearms and sometimes as far as their chest.. A ball like abscess is often found at the base of the thumb. Females produce circular masses of unpigmented eggs, attached together by thin strings. Females are drawn to the underside of creek stones to lay their eggs. After hatching the tadpole will grow to roughly 42-55mm at maturity and will continue to grow throughout the winter.