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Houston Toad
Habitat and Distribution

Typical Houston Toad Habitat
Courtesy Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife

Houston toads are found in pine and/or oak woodlands underlain by pockets of deep sandy soils, with temporary pools of water available for breeding. This habitat type occurs within narrow bands of geologic formations in southcentral Texas. Small, isolated Houston toad populations have been found scattered across these formations in remnant woodlands.

During the late 1940's, amateur herpetologist John C. Wottring discovered some small toads with a beautiful and unique mating call near his home in Houston, Texas. After several years of research, this toad was formally recognized as a new species, the Houston toad (Bufo houstonensis), in 1953. Subsequent field work discovered other Houston toad populations as far west as Bastrop County and as far north as Leon County. This species is found nowhere else in the world other than this small area in southeast-central Texas.

Houston toads disappeared from the Houston area (Harris, Fort Bend and Liberty counties) during the 1960's following an extended drought and the rapid urban expansion of the city of Houston. Although this species has been found in nine additional counties (Austin, Bastrop, Burleson, Colorado, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Milam, Robertson) as recently as the 1990's, several of these populations have not been seen since they were first discovered. Of the few remaining populations, the largest is in Bastrop County.

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Last updated: April 25, 2016