Though the hot, dry climate of the Trans-Pecos region may not seem the ideal environment for amphibians, nine species have been identified within the park’s boundaries. Among these are the Couch’s Spadefoot Toad, Rio Grande Leopard Frog and the Great Plains Narrowmouth Toad.
Because amphibians lack the ability to generate body heat, they must rely on the environment to regulate their body temperature. During the day many amphibians will attempt to escape the heat by hiding in rock crevices, under plants or by burrowing into the soil. The Great Plains Narrowmouth Toad has even been known to use rodent and tarantulas burrows to escape the heat.
Frogs and toads are the most commonly found amphibians within the park. Though very similar in appearance, frogs generally have smooth skin, long legs, and bulging eyes while toads are characterized by bumpy skin and short legs. Neither frogs nor toads have fur, feathers or scales of any kind.
Primarily nocturnal, amphibians can be difficult to spot, and are most easily seen at twilight or at night with the help of a flashlight. Each species has a distinctive call, or voice, that can be used to identify it from other species. The guttural trill of the Rio Grande Leopard Frog is easily distinguishable from the bird-like call of the Red-spotted Toad.
Remember, all amphibians are protected against harassment, killing or collecting within park boundaries. Visitors are not permitted to handle or disturb amphibians in any way.