formerly Bufo cognatus
Great Plains Toad / Crapaud des steppes
The Great Plains Toad is a moderate sized, pale brown-grey to olive coloured toad
with dark blotches and numerous small warts. It may or may not have a stripe down
the centre of the back. The
parotoid glands are large and oval. The
cranial crests form an
L-shape around each eye and fuse between the eyes in a V. The cranial crest of
toadlets forms just the V. The belly is pure white. Adults may reach 11 cm.
The Great Plains Toad
call is a high pitched, long mechanical trill resembling the burst of a machine
gun. A breeding chorus can be heard for up to two kilometres across the prairies.
The Great Plains Toad overlaps with the
Canadian Toad. The Canadian Toad has grey spots on the belly and the
cranial crests form a
fused bump (boss)between the eyes.
The Canadian distribution of the Great Plains Toad is limited to extreme southeastern
Alberta, southwestern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba. It is more widely
distributed through the Great Plains in the United States and down into Mexico.
This is a grassland toad found near river flood plains, irrigation canals, dugouts
and temporary pools where it breeds. It often burrows underground, especially to
escape the heat.
The Great Plains Toad breeds in response to spring or summer rains. Up to 20,000
eggs are laid in long strings in shallow, clear water.The eggs hatch in about two
days and tadpoles transform after six weeks.
The Great Plains Toad is generally nocturnal although it is more resistant to high
temperatures than other toads. When threatened it takes a defensive posture by
puffing with air, raising on all four legs and lowering its head. It eats moths,
flies and beetles. Maturity is reached in three to five years.
Populations in Alberta have declined. Populations in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are
extremely small and therefore vulnerable. Possible threats include habitat loss