Crested Toad

One Giant Leap: Disney Helps Save Rare Toad

As part of World Frog Day on March 20, Disney is leaping into action to save a small frog species from teetering into extinction. This mission is contributing to a species success story well beyond the many lily pads across Walt Disney World. 

As of 2023, Disney’s animal care team has sent over 10,000 tadpoles to aid in the repopulation of the rare native species, the Puerto Rican crested toad. Since the 1920’s, the population of Puerto Rican crested toads has declined due to invasive marine toads, pollution, habitat loss and new development taking place in Puerto Rico. 

Like many frogs and toads, Puerto Rican crested toads are considered “indicator” species, meaning they can provide early warnings for endangered ecosystems. They can also provide medical benefits to help fight microbes and viruses in humans.

This species of toad is critically endangered and was the first amphibian to be placed on a Species Survival Plan (SSP) by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in 1984. Animal experts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and other AZA-accredited facilities, collaborate to operate successful specialized breeding programs for endangered and threatened species, like the Puerto Rican crested toad. 

Since 2011, Disney’s Animal Kingdom has been involved in the program that not only breeds the toads but transports thousands of tiny tadpoles to the island. Breeding typically takes place in May, when the rainy season begins. During this time, Puerto Rican crested toads can lay up to 15,000 eggs.

Read the full story on Disney Experiences.