Are Captive Toads Happy?

Mister Toad

New member
Joined
Feb 1, 2021
I was wondering, as an avid toad enthusiast who has kept quite a few as pets, are toads content with being held in one spot? My current toad has a bit of a luxury setup going on, and captivity is all he's really known. I just thought about the fact that I've never seen him try to escape, and that he has adapted to his surroundings quite well, to the point of being fully comfortable with people being in the room and making moderate noise without him feeling the need to hide. I'm sure he is quite happy, but i just wanted to kniw if anybody knows a thing or two about toad psychology. My toad is an Eastern American by the way.
 

Cass

New member
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
I dont keep exotics but my daughter does. If you have a good set up and provide enough stimulation for your toad there is no reason he wont be content and live a decent life..
Most animals dont tend to overthing things the way we do. I think toad psychology might be a bit of a specialised subject.. But generally gievn a good housing and light with the right sort of food most amphibians are content.
 

CatMom1994

Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2017
Welcome to the forum. Is your pet's name Mister Toad?

I hope your toad does not have big bumps behind his eyes. Toads that have them are toxic and do not belong in captivity. The only reason I know this is I had a scary incident with one last year and Googled descriptions to find out what species looks like it (southern toad).

Interestingly I learned unlike frogs, adult toads crawl, hop short distances, and stay on land except to breed. Based on that information, my guess is he will be fine with a shallow pond (no running water; they avoid creeks) and things to climb on with his sticky feet.
 

linda2147

Active member
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
New Hampshire
I doubt anything that belongs in the wild is happy living in a tank or cage. Tey may adapt because they have no choice but given a choice they wouldn't pick that
 

Mister Toad

New member
Joined
Feb 1, 2021
Original Poster
I doubt anything that belongs in the wild is happy living in a tank or cage. Tey may adapt because they have no choice but given a choice they wouldn't pick that
I suppose this was not the answer I was looking for, but given my wording, I'm not surprised. I'm actually currently earning a bachelor's degree in wildlife ecology, with a focus on herpetology or ornithology in mind. Toads, unlike mammals, tend to choose to stay in the same spot unless they go out to their vernal pools once a year to mate. Realistically, a toad raised since it was a hatchling (as mine is) would not have any real-world experience, and is currently very well adapted to his surroundings. The only thing he really needs is a friend. I suppose the question was more of a question of how to make sure my toad ia living the best life he can.
 

Cat001

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2013
Location
Nottingham, UK
I'm personally more of a reptile person myself, and although reptiles and amphibians are not especially closely related (reptiles being amniotes, along with birds and mammals), they're still often studied together owing to their similarities, so some of what I know of reptiles can be applied to anurans.

I've found in the last decade or so there's been something of a renaissance in herpetological studies with fresh understanding in regard to husbandry, our understanding of their cognition and intelligence and integration of enrichment techniques and training models to help facilitate captive care.

I realise this isn't what you've specifically asked for, but it might be interesting regardless...here's an example of frogs being trained to jump onto a box on command, so their care can be more easily facilitated.


I do something similar with my snakes where I've trained them to come to me willingly, making it easier to access them. Training like this can be both mentally stimulating to the animal and help reduce any potential stress for things like pick-up, weighing or health checks as the animal is motivated to work with you.

In terms of their captive environment, I find animals that have had their needs well satiated are content. In my personal experience I find it's not unusual for my snakes to willingly take themselves back to their own enclosures after being allowed out to free-roam around the room, as they seem content with their homes and see them as such. Having a varied enclosure that allows them to express their full range of behavioural repertoires is the goal.

There’s a really good group on FaceBook called “Advancing Herpetological Husbandry”, this group was founded by professionals in the field (zoo keepers, vets, herpetologists and other such professionals) so is definitely worth checking out. They’re actively against outdated folklore husbandry and myth-based keeping and instead focus on evidence-based welfare.

I know I've not really answered your question directly, but I do hope this reply has been helpful in some way regardless.
 

Cat001

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2013
Location
Nottingham, UK
Thought I'd post this video as a matter of interest as someone just uploaded one on the subject of free-roaming snakes and them choosing to take themselves back, emphasising exactly what I said about my own experiences. (captive herptiles can see their enclosures as safe homes).

For amphibians, I think environmental enrichment might be more appropriate than free-roaming for larger reptiles, but I think the main point that they can be comfortable in their homes is still valid to both.

 
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CatMom1994

Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2017
What can cause a toad to be active in the winter when it should be "hibernating"? I spent a long time researching toads to figure out what species an unwelcome visitor was and all the websites say it should have been doing the amphibian version of hibernation on December 22.
 

LittleGoldSnail

Crazy fish lady
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
What can cause a toad to be active in the winter when it should be "hibernating"? I spent a long time researching toads to figure out what species an unwelcome visitor was and all the websites say it should have been doing the amphibian version of hibernation on December 22.
Isn’t it pretty warm year around where you live though?
 

Cat001

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2013
Location
Nottingham, UK
What can cause a toad to be active in the winter when it should be "hibernating"? I spent a long time researching toads to figure out what species an unwelcome visitor was and all the websites say it should have been doing the amphibian version of hibernation on December 22.
I’m not exactly sure what the answer is, but I am aware that some populations of herptiles that usually enter a state of brumation during the winter ‘can’ be active year-round in areas such as Florida if the winters are clement enough. Brumation is a triggered process requiring an adequately low temperature to fully come into effect, so it’s possible it may have been awake for that reason.

It could also simply be an active period during its brumation, as different species may experience different levels of dormancy. Some herptiles may be active on milder winter days or nights rather than be continuously inactive throughout the entire winter.
 

Cat001

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2013
Location
Nottingham, UK
What is brumation?
Brumation is like the ‘cold-blooded’ version of hibernation, as the processes for winter dormancy for mammals and reptiles/amphibians is a little different owing to their physiological differences, although the terms are often used interchangeably with reptiles and amphibians anyway.
 


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