Anura

Field Guide to Maryland's Frogs and Toads (Order Anura)

Eastern Spadefoot Toad

Family: Spadefoot Toads (Family Pelobatidae)

Common Name:

​Eastern Spadefoot Toad

Scientific Name:

Scaphiopus holbrookii


Eastern Spade Foot frog

Size:
  • 1¾ - 2¼ inches
  • Record - 2⅞ inches.

  • Appearance:
  • A relatively smooth-skinned toad without parotoid glands
  • Has grayish brown back with two yellowish lines running from behind eyes down the back in a “lyre-shaped” pattern.
  • Small reddish orange spots may also be present.
  • Key diagnostic feature is the dark brown, elongated, sickle-shaped spade on the bottom of each hindfoot.
  • It also has vertically elliptical pupils.

  • Habitats:
  • Areas of sandy, loose soil in or adjacent to forests.
  • Typically observed during breeding, in shallow depressions or vernal wetlands in open areas (pastures, fields) adjacent to woods.
  • Primarily found on Coastal Plain.
  • Photo of Habitat for Eastern Spadefoot courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
    Photo of Habitat for Eastern Spadefoot
    courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers


    How to Find:
  • Listen for their distinctive explosive grunt call “geeoo”, likened to the sound of young crows, on nights during or following torrential rains, with air temperatures 50o F.
  • They are explosive breeders, calling only 2-5 nights per year at any one site.
  • Breeding can occur from March-September, but usually from late March to mid-May.
  • May also be found crossing roads on warm rainy nights.

  • Distribution in Maryland:
    Maryland Distribution Map for Eastern Spadefoot