Great Plains Toad

Scientific Name: Anaxyrus cognatus


The Great Plains Toad has really cool 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.

Where they live

As its name suggests, the Great Plains Toad inhabits the Great Plains. In our state of Minnesota, the toad covers the west edge of the state.  They live in prairies, tall grass prairies, and nonnative grasslands.

Life Cycle

The Great Plains toad breeds only after rain storms in spring and summer when the temperature exceeds 55°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.

What They Eat

In the wild they eat terrestrial insects, worms, and other small invertebrates.  At our facility they are fed crickets and mealworms.

Bonus Info

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