Spadefoot (toad)

Spadefoot toads are common names for frogs in the Scaphiopodidae family and are named for unique structures on their hind legs that allow them to burrow into the ground.  Several species occur in North America, and their ability to burrow allows them to tolerate hotter, drier climates than many other amphibian species.  The frogs have vertical pupils (similar to cats).

The Plains spadefoot toad (Spea bombifrons) occurs throughout the midwest, including Texas.  The name on our boat “Spadefoot” has a picture of a Plains spadefoot toad peeking out of one of the “o’s”, courtesy of permission given by Jim Zipp.  A slightly larger version is below, so you can appreciate Jim’s work and the beauty of this animal.

Plains Spadefoot Toad, Spea bombifrons. Series of images showing the toad turning and digging down into the sand using his spade like foot.  South Texas in March.

Plains Spadefoot Toad, Spea bombifrons. Series of images showing the toad turning and digging down into the sand using his spade like foot. South Texas in March.