The American toad averages about two to three and one-half inches in length. It has long parotoid glands on the upper back which are separated from the ridge behind the eye or connected to it by a short spur. There are dark spots on the belly. The dark spots on the back include one or two warts or bumps. The body color may be brown, gray, olive or brick red.
The American toad lives anywhere it has access to shallow bodies of water for breeding, moist hiding places and plenty of food, such as in gardens, lawns, woods or fields. It hides in shrubbery or soil during the day and is active at night. It breeds in spring. The male calls with a high, musical trill.
The female may lay several thousand (2,000 to 20,000) eggs in long strings which may extend for several feet along the bottom of a pond or ditch. Hatching occurs one week later with metamorphosis (change to land-based form) in early June. This toad eats insects and worms. It is found everywhere in Illinois except the southeastern one-fourth of the state.