Proper Care of American Toads (bufo Americanus)




About: this instructable channel is here because i can never find good reptile care instructbles on here so every monday i will post a new instructable on the care of diffrent reptiles, amphibians, and invertabrets.

Toads can be great pets if you know how to properly keep them. This instructable will show you how to make a tank, feed, and care for your american toad!

Step 1: Toad Facts and Basics

Toads are relativly easy animals to care for. They do not need to much humidity and are perfectly safe to handle. They do not need big bodys of water because there skin is more dry. They can be found under rocks, logs, and leaves in the woods and behind your house. American toads are native to almost all parts of America and are not hard to find.

Step 2: Tank

The tank you put your toad in should be a good size. You can use an aquarium or a big plastic storge box. For aquariums the minimum for a toad is 10 gallons, and for a plastic storage box no less then 1 1/2 feet lonfg and 1 foot wide. Make sure you have a secure top on the tank with good ventalation.

Step 3: Tank Setup

One of the most important parts of keeping toads as pets is making sure they have a nice cozey place to stay. There are 3 main things that must be in a toad tank, water, substrate (dirt, moss, gravel) and hiding places. If you look at the picture below the tank in the picture has all those 3 things.

Step 4: Substrate

Substrate is what your toad will be living on so it it is very important. Good substrates are clean dirt, moss, bark, and some gravel. Make sure you pute about 3 inches of substrate on the bottom of the tank so that your toad can burrow. A good company to get dirt from is Eco-earth, they make dirt substrate for reptiles and amphibians. It comes in a hard block of dirt so you must soak it in water before using it in the toad habitat.

Step 5: Water

Water is not as improtant to toads as it is to frogs. Toads have dryer skin so they do not need to keep it as wet. For your toad habitat a good sized water bowl that the toad can fit his whole body up to his neck in is good. You will also need to spray water all over the habitat with a spray bottle untile everything is moist. Make sure you use de-chlorinated water, you can get water de-chlorinators for reptiles at your local pet store.

Step 6: Hiding Place

American toads are noctournal so they only come out at night but sometimes in the day. So your toad will need a place to sleep in the day time. There are many availabe reptile hides at pet stores but you can easily make your own. Take a cup or plastic container and flip it upside down, then cut a hole big enough for the toad to get into and place in in the cage. The pictures below are of a homemade hide and the hide in my toad habitat that was bought at the pet store.

Step 7: Food

Toads are carnivours so they dont eat any plants. They will only eat live insect such as crickets, mealworms, and wax worms, witch can all be bought at your local pet store. Everynow and then put white calcium dust from the pet store on crickets so they are more healthy for your toad. Large toads can also eat small mice but it is not recommeded to feed them mice very often.

Step 8: Handling and Cautions

You can handle your toad! At first your toad may be frightened of you but after a few weeks they get more tame. They are not dangerouse unless you get bigger kinds of toads like cane toads wich have a powerfull poison that can only be dangerouse if swallowed. Make sure you wash your hands after holding your toad!

Step 9: Where to Get a Toad

You can find a toad at your house are in the woods easily, just go out a night with a flashlight and look around and you can usually find many of them. You can also buy them from pet stores or online.

Step 10: Your Ready!

you are now ready to take good care of a toad! have fun!!



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    19 Discussions


    Question 4 months ago on Introduction

    I have had my American Toad for 16 months now, and he (Ben) seems to be thriving well, but he has not had a bowel movement in 2 weeks now. I am very concerned! Can I put mineral oil on an insect before he eats, or should I call a vet?


    5 months ago on Step 3

    please do not use gravel or sand as a substrate as it is harmful.


    8 months ago

    i have two american toads, their names are jordan and sulley. Jordan is a girl and sulley is a boy, they are amazing pets and this is an amazing instructable


    2 years ago

    uh I already got a pet toad today it was missing 2 legs I found and begged my mom to let me keep it so it totes works


    2 years ago

    My friend has a toad and he breeds it. I wanted to do the same and this instruct able was very informative!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    American Toads are one of the easiest pets to keep and to keep happy!


    I just wanted to say, it might be cool to have a toad as a pet, yes.  But I personally have a wild toad as a pet.  It is sticking around and will probably stay in my yard in a certain spot over the winter.  You can read all about him on my blog and even better on  I named it Dr. Bernstein.  Its incredible to watch him outside and I just couldn't put him in a confined space.  Toads up!

    Toad in Grass4.jpg

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Do you know of any stores that sell them online? I had one many years ago as a pet and he was great, but now live in the northwest where they are not wild, and have never been able to find one for sale. I'd love to have these as a pet again. Great instructions by the way!

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Just a clarification on Cane Toad poison, it can blind you as the poison producing glands are somewhat pressurized. Also, Cane Toads are an invasive, imported species from Puerto Rico, and should never be handled or kept as pets.

    1 reply