While visiting Las Vegas I decided to take a 3-1/2 hour drive to search for a very cool amphibian that lives in a remote area of the Mojave Desert.
The Amargosa toad only resides in Oasis Valley, Nevada; specifically, it occurs along a 10-mile stretch of the Amargosa River and upland springs.
This 3-1/2 to 5 inch creature has a warty back with a light, mid-dorsal stripe and black speckling on a background ranging widely in color from buff to olive.
Unlike most frogs and toads, Amargosa Toads do not call and never vocalize unless threatened (they are able to produce alarm calls when predators grab them).
Like most amphibians, they live in damp areas and flooded marshes are one of their favorite habitats. They are nocturnal hunters, feeding on spiders, insects, snails and even scorpions.
In 2006, the Nevada Division of Wildlife estimated that the total population included about 2,000 individuals. It was a memorable experience seeing this creature in the wild and worth the long drive.