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Houston Toad Bufo houstonensis


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Houston Toad
© Dr. Robert Thomas/U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Bufonidae, Toads view all from this family

Description Brown and speckled, their color can range from black to purplish gray, sometimes with green patches.

Dimensions 5.1-8cm. (2-3 1/4")

Endangered Status The Houston Toad is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as endangered in Texas. Its survival is threatened by urbanization, which has destroyed its habitat, and by hybridization with other species where the habitat has been partially modified. In addition to being squeezed out of their habitat, many Houston Toads are killed by automobiles. The remaining populations in Bastrop and Burleson Counties came under protection by federal order in 1969, but the Houston Toad has not been seen in Burleson County since 1983.

Warning Toads have enlarged glands (called the paratoid glands) on the side of the neck, one behind each eye. These glands secrete a viscous white poison that gets smeared in the mouth of any would-be predator, inflaming the mouth and throat and causing nausea, irregular heart beat, and, in extreme cases, death. Toads pose a danger to pets, which may pounce on and bite them. Humans should take care to wash their hands after handling a toad, and to avoid touching the mouth or eyes until having done so.

Voice Musical trill, high pitched.

Breeding February-June. Breeds 2 times a year when there is enough rainfall. Eggs hatch within 7 days. Takes 5-100 days to develop from tadpole to toad.

Habitat Coastal prairies, pine forests near pools.

Range Texas.

Discussion Estimated only 3-4000 left in the world. Burrows for protection.