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GREAT PLAINS TOADS
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Anaxyrus cognatus
HOUSE NAME: "Gilligan"
HABITAT: Widespread across central and southwestern United States and extend south into northern Mexico. Can be found as far north as Alberta, Canada. Live in a wide variety of habitat types, including grasslands, semi-desert shrub lands, and open floodplains.
CONSERVATION STATUS: Least Concern
FUN FACT: These amphibians spend most of their time in burrows that they create from a backward shuffle motion. As a nocturnal species, they leave their burrow to find food about an hour before dusk.
DIET: Insects; moths, flies, cutworms, and beetles.
DESCRIPTION: The back is marked with large black, dark green or dark brown blotches that are outlined in cream or yellow; each blotch is filled with numerous warts. Some individuals have a light colored band that runs down the middle of their back. Front limbs are marked with bands or spots while the hind legs are banded. Belly is cream or yellow in color and some individuals might have a few dark colored spots on the chest.
Other defining features are their relatively dry skin, a rounded snout, a bony ridge which is located along the mid-line of the head, and relatively large kidney-shaped glands that are located on the neck behind each eye. These parotoid glands secrete a poison that is extremely distasteful to any would be predator.
Females are larger than males. Size ranges from 2- 3 3/8 inches. Max length recorded is 4 ½ inches. In breeding season the male’s throat will be slightly darker in color and horny pads will form on the inner fingers of each hand.
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