Fowler's Toads are from 2 to 3 inches long (5.1 - 7.5 cm) and are
generally brown, gray or slightly greenish with warts in contrasting nature tones. They are quite similar to American Toads in general appearance.
The distinguishing characteristics are that the large dark spots on their
back usually have three or more warts. Also, their belly is unmarked, or
with a single chest spot. This is the easiest and best distinguishing character to separate Fowler's Toads from American Toads, since the latter usually have spotted throats and upper bellies.
The breeding call of the Fowler's Toad is quite different, too. Unlike the melodious trill of the American Toad, Fowler's Toads cry "wa-ah" like sheep! In the Chicago Region, Fowler's Toads breed from late May to June. Long, gelatinous egg masses are laid in shallow water. The eggs hatch in about a week and tadpoles transform in about a month.
Fowler's Toads are found in sand prairies and sand savannas, as well as along the shore of Lake Michigan in places like the Indiana Dunes. They seem to like higher temperatures than American Toads and spend more time out in the open in warmer weather in addition to breeding later in the year. Some herpetologists have reported finding large numbers of Fowler's Toads moving along the Indiana Dunes lake edge on summer nights. It has been suggested that they are foraging for bugs, or moistening their bodies in Lake Michigan - but the real reason is known only to the toads themselves.
Ellin Beltz firstname.lastname@example.org October 26, 2008