Surinam Toad | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Surinam Toad | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Surinam toad Overview


The Surinam toad, a unique amphibian, boasts a flattened and round body covered in textured, pebbly skin resembling wet leaves. Its coloration varies from brown to gray, offering excellent camouflage in muddy freshwater habitats.

This toad has a distinctive feature—an array of small, dark dots on its back, each concealing an embedded, unerupted egg. Its eyes are small and lidless, adapted for a mostly aquatic lifestyle, while its wide mouth enables efficient suction feeding.

Origins And Evolution

Toad, known scientifically as Pipa pipa, has an evolutionary history tracing back to the Cenozoic era, approximately 65 million years ago. Belonging to the family Pipidae, it represents an ancient lineage of amphibians.

Over eons, the Surinam toad has maintained its unique flattened appearance and adaptations for an aquatic lifestyle in the stagnant waters of South America. This remarkable amphibian has undergone minimal morphological changes, making it an example of evolutionary stasis.

Its specialized reproductive strategy, including the unique method of egg incubation on its back, adds to its fascinating evolutionary story as a relic of an earlier amphibian lineage.

Behavior and Lifestyle

It is a predominantly aquatic amphibian, spending most of its life in slow-moving or stagnant waters. It is highly adapted for a bottom-dwelling lifestyle, often burying itself in mud or leaf litter. This toad is primarily nocturnal, hunting for small aquatic prey at night.

It's a solitary creature and is known for its cryptic behavior, remaining well-camouflaged to avoid predators. Its unique reproductive strategy involves carrying eggs on its back until they hatch, showcasing maternal care in the wild.

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Amphibia
  • Order: Anura
  • Family: Pipidae
  • Genus: Pipa
  • Species: Pipa pipa


  • Suriname
  • Guyana
  • French Guiana
  • Northern Brazil
  • Venezuela
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru

Fast Facts

  • Name: Surinam Toad
  • Scientific Name: Pipa pipa
  • Habitat: Slow-moving or stagnant freshwater
  • Diet: Aquatic invertebrates, small fish, crustaceans
  • Physical Features: Flattened, round body
  • Nocturnal: Mostly nocturnal
  • Solitary: Typically solitary
  • Unique Order: Anura amphibians
  • Lifespan: Up to 10-15 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Fun Facts: The Surinam toad is known for its distinctive breeding behavior

Physical Characteristics

  • Color: Brown to gray
  • Skin Type: Textured and pebbly
  • Top Speed: Slow-moving
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Weight: Typically 100-200 grams
  • Length: Typically 4-6 inches (10-15 cm)
  • Age of Sexual Maturity: Around 2-3 years
  • Age of Weaning: Not applicable (direct development)

Surinam toad FAQs

What is a Surinam toad?

The Surinam toad is an aquatic amphibian found in South America, known for its unique reproductive behavior.

How does the Surinam toad reproduce?

Female Surinam toads carry their eggs on their back and eventually give birth to fully-developed toadlets.

What is the purpose of embedding eggs on the female's back?

This behavior protects the eggs from predators and provides them with a safe environment for development.

Is the Surinam toad venomous or harmful to humans?

No, it is not venomous or harmful to humans; it is entirely harmless.

What is its primary diet in the wild?

The Surinam toad primarily feeds on aquatic invertebrates, small fish, and crustaceans.

Is it a good swimmer?

It is not a fast or agile swimmer and is adapted for a mostly bottom-dwelling lifestyle.

Where is the Surinam toad commonly found?

It is found in slow-moving or stagnant freshwater bodies, such as muddy pools, swamps, and marshes in South America.

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