The Western leopard toad uses camouflage to blend into its environment and hide from predators.

The Western Cape is the only place in the world where you will find Western leopard toads.

They live in natural vegetation, on farms and in compost heaps in gardens, but move to water, especially wetlands, to mate and lay their eggs.

Keep your eyes open for Western leopard toads on the roads particularly in August when they are breeding and in November when the young toads are making their way from the water to land. Please brake for the toads!

The snoring toad

 

Male Western leopard toads start calling in early spring – their call sounds just like loud snoring!  When you hear them calling you will know that they are about to start moving towards water, where they will mate and lay their eggs.

Many Western leopard toads are killed during the breeding season as they have to get through or over garden walls, pavements and roads to get to their breeding sites near water. If you see a toad on the road, please pick it up and put it on the other side of the road (in the same direction in which it was going).

Teddy, the tongueless toad

Teddy, the tongueless toad. Photograph by Dagny Warmerdam

This Western leopard toad, named Teddy, was found at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) after nature conservation staff based at Kenilworth Racecourse received a call from a concerned SAAO staff member, reporting an injured toad with its “tongue hanging out of its mouth”. Conservation staff rushed to site and found the toad in a terrible condition. He had most likely been hit by a car and was very thin. He had a broken lower jaw bone, a protruding upper jaw bone, several wounds on his head, severe damage to both eyes and a tongue that was red, swollen and hanging out of his mouth.

Teddy was slowly nursed back to health by conservation officials, but his tongue was so badly damaged that it had to be amputated. His injuries also resulted in blindness in one eye and partial blindness in the other. Initially he had to be force-fed as he did not know how to catch food without his tongue, but he quickly learned to grab prey and now feeds on his own.

Teddy cannot be released back into the wild, but will remain at the Two Oceans Aquarium as an ambassador for his species. Toads face great danger from cars and people and many are killed or fatally injured. We plead with every person reading this story to take care when driving and watch out for toads and frogs on the roads!  The future of frogs is in our hands!

This is a temporary exhibit. It is not easy to keep frogs in captivity as they are easily infected with disease and parasites. Although it is not policy, CapeNature has given the Aquarium special permission to display these frogs in recognition of the Year of the Frog.


Species Facts

  • Only occurs in the Western Cape
  • Male's call sounds like snoring
  • Size: Up to 140mm