Texas Toads

***This post is a part of my series where this year I will be highlighting all of the different states native frogs and toads.  Check out this page to see all of the United State’s native frogs broken down by state. ***

Due to the large number of native frogs and toads within Texas I have decided it to be easiest to split it into 3 sections: Frogs, Treefrogs and Toads.  This is part 2 so here are the native toads to Texas.

American Toad (Bufo americanus)

800px-Anaxyrus_americanus_-_American_toad.jpg
photo 1

The American toad is typically a plain brown coloring with light colored patches, reaching lengths of 3.5″. It is mainly nocturnal and is most active when the weather is warm and humid. During the winter, the toad will burrow deep into the ground below the frost line.  As the frost line gets deeper, the toads will burrow deeper beneath the ground.    The American toad can be found anywhere from mountain wilderness to urban areas and will become active at dusk. They can be found in the extreme northeastern corner of Texas.

The toad has a high musical trill which can last upwards of 30 seconds.  American toad is highly terrestrial and can only be found in the water for a short period while breeding and laying eggs.  Below is a video that shows the American Toad calling.

Cane Toad (Bufo marina)

photo 2

The cane toad is the largest toad in Texas – typically they will remain less than 7″ however they can reach up to 3.3 lbs. The body is tan to reddish-brown and back is marked with dark spots. They are nocturnal and can be found under stones or logs near natural pools and streams. In Texas, the cane toad can be found in the southern counties along the Rio Grande river valley.

Male calls with a melodic trill typically between March and September, however breeding can take place year-round during favorable weather conditions. Listen to the call below.

East Texas Toad (Bufo velatus)

photo 3

The East Texas Toad has a uniform yellowish-brown, greenish-brown or black coloration with a light colored belly. They average 2-3″ in length. They can be found in the eastern quarter of Texas. It is thought by many researchers that it is a sub-species of the Woodhouse’s toad.

The East Texas Toad will call from March through August. The call is similar to the Woodhouse’s toad heard below:

Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus)

photo 4

The great plains toad has numerous warts and prominent ridges on its head.  The females will typically reach 4″ with males being less.  They burrow well in loose soil and are found at night in open grasslands, roadside or in ditches where insects are bountiful. The great plains toad can be found in the western half of the state, including the panhandle. 

A female great plains toad will lay up to 20,000 eggs.  The male great plains toad has a long trill call that lasts 20-50 seconds long and can vary depending on the size of the male and the temperature.  Some people have compared this toad’s call to a jackhammer, but go ahead and listen to it for yourself below:

Green Toad (Bufo debilis)

photo 5

The green toad is a very unique shade of green with small black spots and irregular lines.  It can reach around 2″ in length.  This toad spends most of its life underground and emerges to breed in pools after heavy rains in late spring or summer.  They can be found in the arid and semi-arid plains as well as open grasslands in the western two-thirds of Texas. †

The green toad’s call is a flat buzz that lasts from 2-8 seconds.  Listen to him go below:

Gulf Coast Toad (Bufo nebulifer)

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The gulf coast toad can reach up to 4″, but are typically closer to 3″. They will have a uniform brown body with a white stripe along each side of the body and down the middle of its back. They are typically found in warm and moist habitats. They are considered salt tolerant as they can be found in the middle of coastal brackish marshes. In Texas, they can be found in central and south Texas, along with the southern portion of east Texas.

The Gulf Coast toad females have been known to lay up to 5,000 eggs! The males call is a low-pitched trill lasting 2-6 seconds. It can be heard early to mid-spring.

Houston Toad (Bufo houstonensis)

photo 7

The Houston toad is a mottled black or brown on a cream to purple-gray coloring and a light stripe down its back. It will inhabit pine forests and prairies in areas with deep sandy soil. Historically it could be found in a dozen counties, today it can only be found in less than 6 counties in the southeastern portion of Texas. It is considered an endangered species by the Texas Park and Wildlife Department and is fully protected by the state. Additional protection has been provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Breeding will take place during Februrary to June and may be repeated if conditions allow, once in early spring and once in early summer. Males will call from grass bordered ponds.

Red Spotted Toad (Bufo punctatus)

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The red-spotted toad is unique due to its gray or brown coloring and red/orange warts.  They can reach 3″ in length and can be found in rocky canyons and streams or burrowing under rocks.  Typically found in the western two-thirds of Texas as shown below.

The red-spotted toad has an unusually high pitched trill which can last 3-12 seconds.  During the breeding season, the males throat color may darken.

Texas Toad (Bufo speciosus)

photo 9

The Texas Toad is brown with yellow-green spots and can reach up to 3.5″ in length. It can be found burrowed in loose soil in grasslands, open woodlands and areas with sandy soil across most of Texas, except for the western panhandle and the wetter portions of east Texas.

Breeding occurs from April to September after rains. The call of the Texas toad is an explosive trill that lasts for 1-1.5 seconds each. Listen to its call below:

Woodhouse’s Toad (Bufo woodhousii)

photo 10

Woodhouse’s toad can vary in color from yellowish brown to greenish grey with a light stripe down the middle of its back.  They can reach up to 5″ in length!  These toads can be found throughout most of Texas, except for far eastern and western half of south Texas. They burrow into soil to escape drought and cold.  Woodhouse’s toads are named after a 19th century explorer and naturalist Samuel Woodhouse ( Formally called the Rocky Mountain toads).

These toads breed from late March to August in marshes, rain pools and other areas lacking strong current.  This toad’s call is a loud wahhhhhh lasting between 1-4 seconds and emitted several times a minute. This call is similar to the Fowler’s toad, but with a slightly lower pitch.

Thanks for reading! Check out all of the United State’s native frogs and toads here.

Photo Credits:Cover photo used by the creative commons license.  Text was added.  See Original photo by Srini Sundarrajan here.

  1. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
  2. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Sam Fraser-Smith.  Original Photo Here.
  3. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Tom Spinker.  Original Photo Here.
  4. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Galactor.  Original Photo Here.
  5. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Gregory ‘Slobirdr’ Smith.  Original Photo Here.
  6. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by ilouque.  Original Photo Here.
  7. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the public domain.  Photo taken by Chase Fountain.  Original Photo Here.
  8. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Lon & Queta.  Original Photo Here.
  9. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Dawson.  Original Photo Here.
  10. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by J.N. Stuart.  Original Photo Here.

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5 thoughts on “Texas Toads

  1. Thanks for posting this. What doe the colors in the range maps represent? The Houston Toad map is a bit different from the one included on the Texas Parks and Wildlife site. I am trying to identify the toad we are hearing now in our Houston neighborhood. It seems like a strange time of year for breeding.

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