Western Toad Monitoring Project

Minnekhada Park Association is looking for information on the presence of Western Toads in Minnekhada Regional Park. We are conducting a multi-year monitoring program to learn more about migration patterns. We are specifically interested in tracking the migration patterns of the toadlets that emerge from the marsh in the summer (June-August) and move into the forest. The toadlets are small, about the size of a dime, and are prone to being stepped on or run over. We hope the data collected will allow us to see patterns in the yearly migrations that will help us protect them as they migrate.
Ways to Help!


If you are walking a trail and see a Western Toad, take a photo, mark the exact location, and provide any other information you can (e.g., trail name, the direction of travel, weather conditions, etc.) and upload it to iNaturalist. You can also email the photo to coordinator@minnekhada.ca with the relevant information.

We are also looking for volunteers interested in joining more formal monitoring starting in late July or early August. We would go out with a small group of volunteers to specific trails in the park and actively look for toadlets as they migrate to the forest. The time of the migration changes from year to year, so we are looking for volunteers who are flexible and willing to volunteer on short notice. We hope to have a mixture of weekday and weekend monitoring dates available. If you are interested in joining a more formal monitoring event or learning more, please email coordinator@minnekhada.ca to be added to our email list.

More Information About Western Toads

Western Toads use three habitats throughout the year: marsh breeding habitat, terrestrial summer habitat, and winter hibernation habitat. In the spring, adult toads migrate from the forest to their breeding grounds in the marsh. The breeding takes place over a couple of weeks, and once the eggs are laid, they quickly develop into tadpoles. The tadpoles swarm in groups of hundreds or thousands and congregate near warm shallow water. The speed of development of the tadpoles relies heavily on the temperature of the water. By the end of summer (July/August), these tadpoles have developed into toadlets, ready to migrate to the forest for their winter habitat. In Minnekhada, the toadlets can be seen migrating to the forest in swarms and can cover an entire trail. Over the winter, the Western Toads hibernate in burrows that can be over a meter underground. After breeding, adult toads move to warm, low-lying areas such as grasslands and spend the summer and fall foraging.


In 2015 and 2016, Aimee Mitchell of the Coastal Painted Turtle Project undertook surveys at several Lower Mainland sites including Minnekhada. The results and recommendations are shown in this excellent report (PDF, 5MB)

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