GREAT PLAINS TOAD CARE SHEET Anaxyrus cognatus
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: Great Plains Toads are an absolute joy to work with! I do not pick favorites, but this species is certainly one of the best. Many of you may have seen my Great Plains Toads, Bubba and Fefe, on Tiktok and YouTube trying to eat the camera lens. This species certainly has a high hunger drive. While they are not the nest to hold, they love attention within their enclosure like backs pets.
CAPTIVITY DIFFICULTY: Beginner
LIFE SPAN: 7-10 years
ACTIVITY: Great Plains Toads are mostly nocturnal, until the breeding season when they become active during the daytime. As the sun is up, Great Plains Toads spend their time resting in their burrows. At dusk, these toads emerge from their craters to explore, soak, and hunt. Or beg at the front of the enclosure like my toads.
ENCLOSURE: Great Plains Toads require a large amount of coconut fiber substrate for proper burrowing. I suggest 6-8 inches (15-20cm). Toads greatly enjoy burrowing into the roots of live plants. While this can kill the plant, it is great enrichment for captive toads. I have had good experiences with Alligators Ferns and White Jewel Dracaenas. For a step by step guide to preparing plants for your enclosure, click the button below.
A hiding place is needed. Logs, aquarium décor, hides, and any structure that “hides” your toad on three sides is perfect. 2-3 hides are ideal to give your toad a variety of places to rest in. A large water bowl is needed. Great Plains Toads can be quite clumsy so having a bowl with a ramp in and out is ideal. Exo Terra and Zoo Med provide a variety of selections. Freshwater must always be available. This may mean cleaning the water daily! If using tap water, water conditioner must be used. This removes harmful chemicals and makes the water safe for your amphibian. Directions vary so be sure to read the label before using.
SIZE OF ENCLOSURE: I highly suggest at least a 40-gallon terrarium for two Great Plains Toads. Great Plains Toads do best in pairs and can use the extra space. Having an Exo Terra front opening enclosure is also extremely helpful and helps you interact with them in their environment.
TEMPERATURE: Day time temperatures of 70-75 degrees F (21-24 C) are ideal. A basking light is not needed. Great Plains Toads thrive at room temperature.
Nighttime temperatures should never drop below 60 degrees F (15 C), and should typically stay around 65 degrees F (18 C). A low watt heat emitter, scheduled for the times the temperature drops too low. Excess heat leads to the drying out of the enclosure and can be deadly to amphibians!
LIGHTING: UVB light is recommended but not a necessity. This helps improve your toads’ overall health and improves plant health and growth. A linear 2.0 UVB is best. Never use higher than 2.0, it is too strong and can harm your toad!
FEEDING: Live crickets or dubia roaches should be their main diet. An adult Great Plains Toad should have 10-12 crickets/dubias every two days. Dusting your feeds with calcium improves your toads’ health and growth. Mealworms, wax worms, red wigglers, moths, and phoenix worms can be given as snacks occasionally. A diverse diet improves your toads’ health.
What size crickets or dubias do I get for my Great Plains Toad? A general rule for feeding Reptiles and Amphibians is, the food in question’s girth should fit in between the animal’s eyes. Great Plains Toads do well with ½ – ¾ crickets and dubia roaches.
HOW TO SEX: Males tend to be smaller and have dark colored throats. This is where their throat expands when producing a mating call. Only Males produce this call.
Females tend to be large than males and do not produce any vocalizations.
SIZE: The typical length for an adult Great Plains Toad is 4-5 inches (10-12cm) but depends on sex as stated above.
I AM NEW TO FROGS, ARE THEY GOOD FOR BEGINNERS?
Great Plains Toads are wonderful for beginners! They are easy to care for and clean and have lots of personality to share!