Colorado River Toad

Colorado River Toad

Incilius alvarius


Meet the largest native toad in North America! Its skin is olive green or brown, smooth and leathery, with raised areas on its head and legs. Colorado River toads are solitary and nocturnal, resting by day in burrows made by rodents. When threatened, they release a toxin that can be deadly to small animals and pets. Scientists are looking to see whether the toxin can be used as medication in humans for certain mental health conditions.

Like other amphibians, these desert dwellers need water to reproduce. They breed in these streams, ditches and other aquatic habitats that fill up with water during the summer rains. Females lay thousands of eggs in the water, which metamorphose into tadpoles and then toads over the next month. They can live up to 10 years or more.

Up to 7 inches long
Live in
Sonoran Desert of the southwestern U.S. and northwest Mexico
Invertebrates, lizards, mice, smaller toads
IUCN Red List Status
Least Concern
Colorado River toad on a rock


Colorado River toads are thriving across their habitat, but as amphibians, they are sensitive to pollution in aquatic habitats. Toads absorb chemicals through their skin and can suffer from toxins in the water. Help keep amphibians safe by keeping waters free of pollution.