Scientific Name: Scaphiopus holbrookii
- Species of Greatest Conservation Need-Tier 4a on the Virginia Wildlife Action Plan
Size: Up to 3 inches
Life Span: These frogs live 12 years in captivity and on average 9 years in the wild
Spadefoots receive their name from a black spade-like appendage on each hind foot (middle right), which is used for burrowing into sand or loose soil. The large protruding eyes have vertically elliptical pupils. Usually brown, sometimes yellowish or quite dark, often mottled, with two light, yellowish, dorsal stripes extending from the eye down the back. They also have small paratoid glands and few warts.
Did You Know?
Unlike the synchronous-leg swimming pattern typical of many species of frog, spadefoots have an asynchronous or alternate-leg kicking pattern.
Role in the Web of Life
Breeding can occur from early March-early August. Referred to as an “explosive breeder”, they usually remain buried underground only emerging from burrows after heavy rain events and may only remain at breeding site for 1 or 2 days, which includes flooded farm fields, grassy areas, and power-line right- of-ways. Their advertisement call is a complaining nasal descending growl, errrrrrrh that is repeated every 5-10 seconds.
Tier IV Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Virginia’s Wildlife Action Plan
Last updated: September 30, 2023