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The golden toad

Golden toad Fact file

Name: Golden toad
Status: Extinct?

Habitat: Cloud forest near Monteverde, Costa Rica.

Description: Like the toads you can find in your garden, except that males were bright golden orange, and females were dark green or black with red spots.

Reasons for extinction:
Golden toads were only ever known to live in a small area of 4 square kilometres in the mountains of Costa Rica. Scientists used to find hundreds of toads gathered to breed in small pools in the rainy season, but they suddenly became very rare - only ten were found in 1988, and only one was found a year later. No more golden toads have been seen since.
No-one really understands what happened to the toads, although it's almost certainly the result of human activity. It's possible that their habitat was affected by deforestation, or by climate change caused by people burning fossil fuels.
Another idea is that they were wiped out by a type of fungus which has been recently found to have been killing amphibians all over the world. Because they have sensitive moist skin, frogs and toads are also especially vulnerable to pollution and ultraviolet radiation. Unfortunately, golden toads are only one of many amphibian species which have become rare or extinct in the last few decades.

Image bank - click on the pictures for more information.
Images of golden toad © 2003 Richard Sage

Male golden toad Female golden toad Map of Costa Rica

Find out more:
Golden toad fact pack
Climate change and the golden toad
More about other frog extinctions
Learn more about Costa Rica
Print out your own golden toad image page (PDF, 77Kb)

Find out about the extinct and endangered animals in the Museum.

Hilda the hippo Dodo
Blue whale
Golden toad
Giant panda
Passenger pigeon
Schaus' swallowtail

Go to the Homepage to find out about hippos and the causes of extinction.