Eastern Spadefoot Toad
• Typical foods: flies, spiders, caterpillars, earthworms, snails, moths, and crickets.
• Length: 1.75-2.25 inches
• Peak Breeding Activity: March-September
• Clutch Size: 200+
• Ohio Status: Endangered
The body color is brownish with two yellow lines extending from the eyes down the back where they join together forming an hourglass pattern. Another defining characteristic is the vertically elliptical pupils of the notably large eyes. Spadefoot toads get their name from the hard, black spade found on the underside of each hind foot. Unlike true toads, the warts on the skin are small and red.
Habitat and Habits
Exceptionally rare and is known to occur in Athens, Coshocton, Lawrence, Morgan, and Washington counties. It is found only in areas of sandy soils that are associated with river valleys in southeastern Ohio. Breeding habitats are located within these areas and may include flooded agricultural fields or other water-holding depressions. Spadefoot toads spend most of their life hidden underground in burrows of their own making. The male's croak sounds like "whar," and some have likened it to the sound of a young crow.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Strong storms with heavy precipitation (at least 1.5 inches in one event) are needed to induce breeding, which is short and explosive. The tadpoles hatch in several days and, if the water-filled pool begins to dry, can complete transition to adulthood in only a couple of weeks. Breeding can occur several times a year, or not at all, depending on the weather.