Puerto Rican crested toads are nocturnal, escaping the intense heat during the day, by hiding in holes and cracks within rock formations. The appearance varies between the male and female. The female is larger and is a dull brown, while the male is olive green and gold. Both have textured, pebbled skin, but the female's is much rougher. Both have golden eyes with the female having a high crest above her eyes.
This critically endangered toad faces many threats like habitat loss brought on by an increasing human population. Other threats are the many introduced species to the island, like the marine toad, which was brought from South America in the 1920's to control sugar cane grubs. This large, seven-inch toad preys upon the tadpoles of crested toads and also competes with it for food, habitat, and breeding sites. Introduced mongooses and rats also prey on the toads.
Puerto Rican crested toads have been in the AZA Species Survival Plan (SSP) program for more than 25 years. The program has contributed to the natural population by sending animals from captive bred frogs to their native environments. In 2007, Zoo Miami’s Children’s Zoo had a significant hatching of Puerto Rican crested toads, a first breeding for Zoo Miami. On Dec. 4, 2007, Zoo Miami packed up approximately 250 tadpoles (they were less than ½ inch in length), put them on a flight to Ft. Worth, TX, where they joined with tadpoles from other participating zoos, and on to Puerto Rico where they were released into Guánica National Forest. All together, the participating zoos released more than 1000 tadpoles back into the wild!
Insects, worms, larvae and other invertebrates