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A Guide to California's
Reptiles and Amphibians




Sounds of
Rocky Mountain Toad - Anaxyrus woodhousii woodhousii

(Girard, 1854)

(= Bufo woodhousii woodhousii)
Click the speaker icon to listen to an mp3 sound file.

Male frogs and toads sometimes make a variety of sounds. These calls can have different functions.


Advertisement Calls

The advertisement call is the most well-known call of a frog or toad. It is made by a male during the breeding season to establish his territory and repel rival males and to attract females as potential mates. Males usually make the call in or near bodies of water near areas that are attractive to a female as a good place to lay her eggs. Advertisement calls can be heard during the evening and at night, and often during daylight at the peak of the breeding season. Sometimes an advertisement call will be heard outside of the breeding season and away from water. The reason for this is not understood.

Each species has its own unique advertisement call. This is necessary to differentiate them when there is more than one species calling. The evolution of this specific male advertisement call and its recognition by females is considered to be an important isolating mechanism in the evolution of a species.


The advertisement call of the Rocky Mountain Toad is a loud bleating or snoring sound that has been compared to a muted sheep or calf bleating, or a snore, lasting 1 - 4 seconds. Calls are made from dusk to dawn from quiet waters of ponds, streams, irrigation ditches, and marshes.

Sound Sound
This is a very short recording of one call from a single male toad calling at night in Riverside County from the irrigation pond seen below. Insects are heard in the background. This is a 15 second recording of an advertisement chorus of a small group of toads, calling at night in August from the bare edges of the irrigation pond in Riverside County, seen below. Insects are heard in the background.
Rocky Mountain Toad Breeding Habitat


Sound Sound
This is a 65 second recording of a large group of Rocky Mountain Toads calling at night in Riverside County from the irrigation pond shown below. This is a 20 second recording of a few toads calling at night from the flooded field in Imperial County shown below.
Rocky Mountain Toad Breeding Habitat

Rocky Mountain Toad Breeding Habitat
Sound Sound
This is a 29 second recording of an advertisement chorus of many Rocky Mountain Toads, some close, some in the distance, calling at night in late May from the edges of a small lake surrounded by sagebrush and agricultural fields in Franklin County, Washington (shown below.) Insects and wind noise are heard in the background.
This is a 73 second recording of a group of male toads calling at night from the edge of the same lake where the previous recording was made years later in early June in Franklin County, Washington. The sounds of light rain are also heard.
Rocky Mountain Toad Breeding Habitat


 
Sound
This is a very short recording of one solo call from a male toad in Franklin County, Washington

Waveform and Sonogram
Sound sonogram
This is a recording of one repetition of the advertisement call of a Rocky Mountain Toad recorded at night in Riverside County.

The image on the right is a visual representation of this call.

Click on it to see a larger image.

Click here for information about how to read the waveform and sonogram images.

Release Calls

A release call is produced by a male toad or an unreceptive female toad when a male toad or other animal gets on its back and grabs its sides in the position used for mating or amplexus. It's a toad's way of saying "Get off my back! Let go!"

Sound

This is a 9 second recording of the release calls of a male toad from Riverside County. Insects and advertisement calls are heard in the background.


Short Videos
Rocky Mountain Toad Rocky Mountain Toad Rocky Mountain Toad
A short example of a male giving one advertisement call at night on a pond in Franklin County, Washington. Rocky Mountain Toads calling at night on a pond in Franklin County, Washington. More Rocky Mountain Toads calling at night on a pond in Franklin County, Washington.
Rocky Mountain Toad Rocky Mountain Toad  
Two calling males pulled from a breeding pond in Riverside County are shown giving weak release calls before being returned to the water. A Rocky Mountain Toad on his way to a breeding pond at sunset in Franklin County, Washington, gives a release call when he is picked up.  

You can listen to more recordings of Rocky Mountain Toads on this cd:

Carlos Davidson - Frog and Toad Calls of the Pacific Coast - Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology

cd cover

and on the cd that comes with this book:

Lang Elliott, Carl Gerhardt, and Carlos Davidson - The Frogs and Toads of North America - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

book cover

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