Xinjiang Toad Care
Closely related to the green toad, the Xinjiang toad is also known as Pewzow’s toad and the Uzbekistan green toad. It can be found in the dry plains of Central Asia, the foothills and mountains of Tian Shan, Zhungar Alatau and Pamir Mountains (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan), the mountains and deserts of Western China and Mongolia, and probably westward to northern Afghanistan and north to Lake Balkhash in Kazakhstan and northeast Altai Republic in Russia. They can cope with high daytime temperatures and very low night-time temperatures, which makes them very adaptable as pets.
They are a medium sized toad that reaches between 52 to 86mm snout to vent length, with females usually being slightly larger than males. The background colour varies from a light tan to a mid brown, with irregular green patches in various shades of green. They have typically warty skin and large parotid glands behind their eyes; like most toads, these glands in the skin contain poison, and make sure that predators only try to eat a toad once. If you do handle your toad, it’s very important to wash your hands both before and afterwards – the secretions can be irritating to our skin.
A minimum size of enclosure for a single toad would be 60x45x30cm, although bigger is always better; these animals can live in groups, so 90x45x45 would be fine for up to five individuals. The more space you can give them, the happier they will be. Make sure that they have a shallow water bowl that they can soak in if they want; remember to use dechlorinator in your tap water and change the water for fresh every day.
Temperature wise, these frogs thrive with a temperature range of 25º C to 30º C in the hottest area, with a 5 to 10 degree drop at night. As with all reptiles and amphibians, there needs to be a gradient from warmest to coolest so that your pets can decide for themselves what temperature they want to be at. This can be provided with a deep heat projector used with a suitable thermostat, and remember to always use a good digital thermometer.
Despite being crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk), this is a species that will thrive under UVB light. As they don’t need a particularly strong source they are happy with either a compact bulb or one of the low UV emitting T5 tubes that are on the market.
Green toads are a particularly confident group of amphibian species, and quickly learn to recognise their caregiver and wait for food; it’s important to give them lots of cover, though, as even the most outgoing toad is going to be nervous if it feels exposed. They do particularly well in bioactive setups, although due to their robust size and build they can be hard on plants. It’s a great way to add environmental enrichment to their lives, but as long as they have a damp substrate and lots of cover they aren’t too worried about what it looks like.
Offering them a wide variety of foods is simple, as they are unfussy to the point of being greedy! Be careful how much food you offer your toad, as obesity is a very common and life limiting condition. Make sure that all live foods have been gut loaded before use, and have been dusted with a good quality calcium or multivitamin/multimineral powder.
Despite the exotic name, these toads are simple to care for and should give you years of fascinating companionship; they have amazing personalities and can be very long lived. Perhaps they are the new species you have been looking for – you won’t regret giving them a chance!