Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Ted Hoberg
Photo Copyright Ted Hoberg

The Great Plains toad, Bufo cognatus, is a common and widespread toad that occurs across the central United States, much of Mexico, and limited areas of Canada. In Utah, the Great Plains toad occurs in scattered areas throughout the state, where it prefers desert, grassland, and agricultural habitats. In cold winter months, the Great Plains toad burrows underground and becomes inactive.

This species breeds in shallow water after rains during spring and summer months. Females lay clutches of approximately 3,000 eggs; eggs hatch in several days. Adult toads eat primarily insects, whereas tadpoles eat plants, detritus, and algae. The Great Plains toad is usually light brown with darker brown or brownish-green irregular splotches.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Stebbins, R. C. 1985. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 336 pp.