Ben here with the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & ...

Ben here with the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & ...

Ben here with the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Here's our pick for the number two rarest frog or toad in Virginia: Anaxyrus quercicus, the oak toad!

On Tuesday, we looked at the little grass frog (Pseudacris ocularis), which is the smallest frog in North America. The oak toad is the smallest toad in North America, averaging between 0.75 and 1.3 inches in length!

Like many of the frogs and toads we've looked at this week, this species is also native to the southeastern Coastal Plain, and Virginia represents the northernmost portion of its range. According to the website of the Virginia Herpetological Society, these little toads have been recorded in the counties of Greensville, Isle of Wight, Southampton, Surry, and Sussex, along with the city of Suffolk.

Oak toads are considered a "Tier II" species on the Virginia Wildlife Action Plan, which denotes a "Very High Conservation Need." Due to their small range, small populations, and the constant threat of habitat destruction, it's possible that this awesome species could one day be extirpated in Virginia. Fortunately, their populations throughout their entire range seem to be fairly stable.

If you happen to find yourself in southeast Virginia and would like to try to track down an adult oak toad, they prefer open canopied oak and pine forests with shallow temporary ponds. In the northern part of their range, they seem to hibernate from December through early March, so you might need to wait a couple months!

Thank you to the Virginia Herpetological Society ( for the use of this photo!

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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