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April 21, 2018  |  Login

Puerto Rican Crested Toad
Peltophryne lemur

What Are They Like?

The Puerto Rican crested toad is the only native toad found in Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands. Their appearance varies between males and females. The female toad is a dark brown and is approximately 4 inches in length (10 centimeters), while the male toad is an olive green and gold and only about 3 inches in length (7.6 centimeters). Both sexes have skins that have rough, pebbled textures and golden eyes with high crests on top, but the female crest is more defined.

Where Do They Live?

The Puerto Rican crested toad has a limited range from the northern to southern coasts of Puerto Rico. They were native of Virgin Gorda, in the Virgin Islands, but they can no longer be found there. Habitats range from terrestrial to freshwater; however, they are mainly a terrestrial species found in semi-arid, rocky areas of seasonal evergreen forests in low elevations.

Did You Know?
The Puerto Rican crested toad was thought to be extinct until 1967.

How Are Babies Made?

Puerto Rican crested toads breed mainly during heavy rains. Females can lay as many as 15,000 eggs in black strands in permanent or temporary pools of water, streams or small dams. The eggs hatch into tadpoles and develop into toadlets, a process which takes 18 days. Young toadlets tend to group together to help retain body moisture as they leave the breeding area.

What Do They Eat?

Very little is known about their diet; however, they are thought to eat insects, worms, larvae and other invertebrates.


What Do They Do?

Puerto Rican crested toads are nocturnal animals. Their populations are dispersed until mating season when they come back together. They spend their time in search of food and habitat.

How Concerned Should We Be?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the Puerto Rican Crested Toad in a “Red List” of species in danger globally as “critically endangered” because their population decline over the last ten years has been by more than 80%. Their wild population is presently decreasing rapidly, primarily due to habitat destruction in the north of Puerto Rico and draining of breeding pools in the south for development. In addition, the marine toad introduced in the 1920s to control sugar cane grubs preys on the tadpoles of the Puerto Rican crested toads and competes with them for food, habitat and breeding grounds.

What's Being Done?

Efforts for captive breeding have shown success, and after a few years, the toads have been re-introduced to Puerto Rican coasts and some have returned to native ponds. The Puerto Rican Department of Natural Resources is also searching for natural or man-made ponds where captive Puerto Rican crested toads can be released, or other wild toads can be transferred. In addition, the American Zoo and Aquarium Association has created a Species Survival Plan that involves combining education, captive breeding, re-introduction, and conservation of habitat.


Puerto Rican Crested Toad Release

Protecting Endangered Puerto Rican Toads

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