• Sierra del Carmen

    Big Bend

    National Park Texas

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  • Extreme Water Shortage

    Extreme water shortage throughout park. Visitors are limited to 5 gallons per day, and are encouraged to conserve further when possible. Please consider bringing your own water to the park.

Amphibians

Couch's Spadefoot Toad
Couch's Spadefoot Toad
NPS Photo/Big Bend National Park
 

Deserts aren't usually considered rich in amphibians, and yet twelve species are found in Big Bend National Park. Along the banks of the Rio Grande, Leopard Frogs grunt and chuckle and the high trill of the spotted toad may be heard on warm summer nights near springs and moist areas.

Big Bend's most intruiging amphibian is the Spadefoot Toad. Named after the hard "spade" on each hind foot, the spadefoot lives in the hot areas of the park. The majority of its life, this toad is deep underground sealed in a gelatinous slime coat to hold in body moisture. When they hear summer rainstorms on the surface above, spadefoots frantically dig out to find tiny pools of collected rainwater. They quickly sing to attract others. Mating takes place, eggs are laid, and tadpoles develop to adults within two weeks—hopefully before the pools dry up.

Did You Know?

Camels

Traveling through the Big Bend during the 1860 camel experiment, Lt. William Echols reported that camels did well in the desert, but that they suffered from sore feet. “I would recommend to any one using the camels over rough country, in case of tender feet, to shoe them with a piece of raw hide…” More...