Eastern Spadefoot Toad Overview
Eastern Spadefoot Toad species ranges in length from 44-72 mm (1 3/4 to 3 in.). It can be distinguished from other toads by its vertical, elliptical pupils and a spadelike, black horny projection on the inside of the foot. These projections are used for digging. This species is soft-bodied with short legs and moist skin.
The skin may be covered with small tubercles. The dorsum is usually brown but may range from gray to black. There are light bands running from the eye to vent and along the sides of this species. These bands are more yellow in male specimens.
Eastern Spadefoot Toad produces a musty peppery secretion that can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. The throat and chest of this species are white; the lower belly is light gray to reddish in color. There is a pair of large pectoral glands.
Eastern Spadefoot Toad Identification:
Stout body is brownish gray to nearly black; back is usually marked with two yellowish lines in an hourglass shape. Skin is relatively smooth with only small warts; oval parotoid glands are present, but not prominent, on the shoulders. Pupil of the eye is vertical. The bottom of each hind foot is equipped with a black, sickle-shaped spade (shown in inset image above).
March to August (possibly year round in south Florida); breeds explosively after very heavy rains. Eggs are laid in band-like strings attached to vegetation but may be found in small clusters. Breeding call is a low pitched, prolonged mwaaaah. To hear frog calls, visit the USGS Frog Call Lookup and select the species you want to hear from the common name drop-down list.
Eastern Spadefoot Toad Diet:
Ants, beetles, caterpillars, flies, spiders, millipedes, and other invertebrates.
Found throughout Florida, with the exception of the south-central region and the middle Keys, burrowed in sandy soils in a wide variety of urbanized, agricultural, and natural habitats with loose soils. Breeds in shallow, extremely temporary ponds and marshes.