Couch'S Spadefoot Toad
What do you need to know about Couch's Spadefoot toads?What do they look like? How do they behave?
The Southern Spadefoot, or Couch's spadefoot, is true to its name and inhabits the southern
portion of North America, primarily Texas to Arizona and Utah, parts of northern Mexico and lower California. They cluster underground in subterranean burrows, often under logs or similar shelters. They avoid daylight and are nocturnal in nature. They usually only venture outside
after heavy downpours.
Males range in size from 48-70 mm and females from, 50-80mm. Their bodies are similar to the stocky, short body of a toad. They are characterized by green backs which can look marbleized in the light. There is a dark line extending backward from each eye which may connect with other dark patches on the skin. The skin is rough with many tubercles in the sides of the frog. The Southern Spadefoot has no discernable ear or paratoid glands. It's eyes are large and pronounced with vertical pupils. The fingers
and toes are light with dark tips and a band may be found around an arm or leg. The toes are fully webbed and the hand is nearly as long as the forearm.
These frogs produce a chorus that is grating, harsh and loud. This noise carries over a long distance and can be heard from far away. This noise has an unearthly quality to it and sounds as if the perpetrator is in
a great deal of pain.
The Southern Spadefoot breeds from April till August, primarily during periods of heavy rainfall. The eggs look like they are composed of a thick, firm jelly and are often found close together on plant stems. In warm
spots they hatch in 1-2 days. The bronze colored tadpole is actually black and covered with a multitude of golden spots. They remain in this tadpole state for a period of 15-40 days and they usually transform into a frog
during the summer months.