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Surinam Toad

Pipa pipa


This unique-looking toad is almost completely flat. It has tiny eyes, strong hind feet that are broadly webbed, is mottled brown or olive in color, and is 4-5 inches long on average. It is distinguished from other toads by its flat appearance, triangular-shaped head, and small, star-like appendages on its short, weak, unwebbed front legs.

Surinam Toad

Distribution and Habitat

The Surinam Toad inhabits subtropical and tropical moist lowland forests and swamps, freshwater marshes, and murky ponds in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela. It is always found in water, only coming onto land when forced to do so. This species is listed as threatened, due to habitat loss.

range of thr Surinam Toad


Surinam Toads feed on worms, insects, crustaceans, and small fishes. They do not have tongues, so they use their long, sensitive forefingers to sweep mud for food and carry it into the mouth.


In addition to its appearance, the Surinam Toad also has a fairly unqiue method of reproduction. Males cannot croak to attract mates, but they can produce a sharp clicking sound by snapping the hyoid bone in the throat. While mating, a pair leaps through the water in arcs; at the top of the arc, the female rolls over and releases 3-10 eggs that are fertilized by the male and then become embedded in skin on the female's back. The process will be repeated several times until about 100 eggs have been fertilized. The eggs sink into the female's skin and form pockets over several days, and the larvae develop through the tadpole stage inside the pockets. Miniature versions of adult toads emerge after 12-20 weeks, and they are capable of fending for themselves almost immediately.

female Surinam Toad with embedded eggs

Other Information

Surinam Toads are generally solitary.

Scientific Classification

phylum Chordata
subphylum Vertebrata
class Amphibia
order Anura
family Pipidae
genus & species Pipa pipa

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The Robinson Library >> Reptiles and Amphibians >> Order Anura

This page was last updated on June 17, 2018.