Monday, June 20, 2005

Search for the Boreal Toad

Above 9,000 feet in elevation, Boreal toads and tiger salamanders are the only amphibians that adapted to surviving long, cold winters.

Tiger salamanders haven't been spotted in Cucumber Gulch (up Ski Hill Road, near the Peak 8 base area), but Boreal toads have. The Colorado Division of Wildlife researchers have said the gulch offers some of the best habitat in the state for the toads.

The Boreal toad (Bufo boreas boreas) is Colorado's only alpine species of toad. Females generally grow to 11 centimeters and males to 9 centimeters. Both sexes appear warty and usually have a light stripe along the middle of the back. Juveniles may have red warts.

In Colorado, the toads are listed as a threatened species.

Cucumber Gulch is a key site for Boreal toad research this summer.

"It's a jewel. It's a national treasure right in the middle of a developed recreation area," said Environmental Protection Agency wetlands expert Sara Fowler.

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