Puerto Rican crested toad
Habitat: Low elevation, semi-arid, rocky areas of scrub or moist forests where limestone is present
Range: Karst regions of Puerto Rico
The hatching of 1,400 Puerto Rican crested toad tadpoles in June 2016 marks another conservation success for the Zoo. This critically endangered species is threatened by habitat alteration caused by land development and introduced species. However, successful captive breeding programs, including the one directed by the Fort Worth Zoo, have allowed for the reintroduction of this species throughout its historical natural range. These reintroduced toads are establishing permanent populations that are allowing this amphibian to recover in the wild.
The Puerto Rican crested toad can be recognized by the upturned snout and rigid crests on its head, but this amphibian is not often seen in the wild because it is nocturnal. It escapes the intense heat of the day by hiding in holes and cracks within the karst, an irregular limestone region made up of underground streams and caverns. The toad’s diet consists of insects and small invertebrates. The Puerto Rican crested toad is the only known native toad on the island of Puerto Rico.