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Great Plains Toad Bufo cognatus


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Great Plains Toad
credit: NPS

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Bufonidae, Toads view all from this family

Description Grey, brown, and green, with darker colored blotching. Bony hump on snout. Skin flap hides vocal sac.

Dimensions 5.1-11.4cm. (2-4 1/2")

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 Loud, harsh mating call.

Breeding April-September. After rainfall. Eggs attached to vegetation on bottom of pools.

Habitat Grassland near water.

Range Southern Alberta, throughout the western United States, and into northern Mexico.

Discussion Nocturnal. Burrows in loose soil. Diet includes cutworms which damage crops. predated by the Garter snake.