2014 | Richard Carstensen |

Mysterious declines

As most longtime Southeast residents are aware, we’ve suffered a major decline in western toad, recently renamed Anaxyrus boreas boreas (formerly Bufo boreas).

Like human fingerprints, the distinctive pattern of bumps on a toad’s back is retained throughout the animal’s life. We suspect Alaskan toads live longer than their southern counterparts. ID photos like these, in places where you may encounter the same individual in future years, can help to document life span. Please don’t handle toads bare handed; it can transmit disease, or put them at risk from bug dope or sunscreen.


In summer, 2014, at the north end of the City & Borough of Juneau, we saw more toads than Juneau naturalists have observed since the mid-1980s. They were all in the yearling age class, indicating a highly successful breeding year in 2013.