Like most other members of the Bufonidae family, the western leopard toad lives on the ground, and spends most of its time away from water, foraging for a variety of insects and other invertebrates, possibly including snails (2) (3) (7). Toxic secretions from the parotoid glands help to defend the toad against predators, although it may still fall prey to fish, birds, snakes and other toads (2) (7).
The western leopard toad is an ‘explosive breeder’, meaning that all breeding is restricted to short bursts, lasting around four to five nights at a time, rather than occurring continuously across the breeding season. Breeding takes place in spring, between August and October, depending on the rains, and starts with large numbers of toads converging on selected breeding sites, where the males call from areas of vegetation. On finding a mate, the male clasps the larger female from behind, ready to fertilise the eggs as they are laid. Each female produces up to a staggering 25,000 eggs, which are laid in long, gelatinous strings, and hatch into relatively small, dark, bottom-dwelling tadpoles, which feed on algae. After around ten to twelve weeks, the tadpoles undergo metamorphosis, transforming into miniature, one centimetre long versions of the adults (2) (3). The young toads leave the water between October and December (2) (3), but very few survive to maturity, which is reached at around one to three years in males, and two to six in females (2).