Great Plains Toad

Anaxyrus cognatus
great plains toad - Anaxyrus cognatus

Description: The Great Plains Toad has distinctive large, dark spots with light edges on its back with its background color being gray brown to green. Each of these spots has a small number of warts on it.

Range: As its name suggests, the Great Plains Toad inhabits the Great Plains. In Minnesota, the toad covers the west edge of the state.

Habitat: Prairies, tall grass prairies, and nonnative grasslands.

Reproduction: The Great Plains toad breeds only after rain storms in spring and summer when the temperature exceeds 55 degrees F. A calling male clutches any toad that happens to touch him, and once a female is clasped she is retained tenaciously. A single female may lay as many as 20,000 eggs, which are attached to debris near the bottom of temporary pools, permanent springs, and small streams. Roughly two days after laying the eggs hatch. 

Diet:
Wild: Terrestrial insects, worms, and other small invertebrates.
Zoo: Crickets

Fun Fact: The mating call of a Great Plains Toad has a mechanical quality, unlike the American Toads musical trill.