Fire Restrictions in effect for Saguaro National Park
Due to increased fire danger in southern Arizona, Saguaro National Park will implement fire restrictions in both the Rincon and Tucson Mountain Districts, beginning Wednesday, May 22, 2013. More »
Bottled water no longer for sale in Saguaro National Park
Water bottle filling stations have been installed at both visitor centers and the Rincon Mountain District bike ramada for visitors to refill their reusable water bottles. A variety of BPA-free waterbottles are available inside the visitor centers. More »
Tucson Mountain District (west) road re-opened
The Golden Gate Road has been re-opened north of Sendero-Esperanza and is is now rated for high clearance vehicles due to the rough nature of the terrain. More »
Couch’s Spadefoot (Scaphiopus couchii)
Couch’s spadefoot spends most of the year several feet underground in a dormant state protected from extreme temperatures and dryness. During summer rainstorms, the sound of thunder and rain prompts them to leave their burrows. Once above ground, they immediately start to feed, often choosing termites that also emerge during the summer rains. This might be the spadefoot’s only chance to eat until the next summer! If the storms produce enough water, they will also search for a mate (the male’s sheep-like call attracts the females), breed, and lay eggs in temporary pools and puddles. Adapted to an environment in which pools of water are short-lived, spadefoot eggs hatch in in about 15 hours, and tadpoles can develop into toadlets in as few as 9 days!
As dawn approaches, spadefoots use bony projections on their back feet (spades) to dig into the soil. Just under the soil’s surface, they await the next summer rain. When the summer rainy season come to a close, the spadefoots will dig deep under the soil and return to a dormant state.
Length: 2 ¼ -3 3/5 in. (5.7-9.1 cm)
Diet: Insects; mostly termites.
Did You Know?
The average life span of a saguaro cactus is 150 years, but some plants may live more than 200 years. A 20 foot tall saguaro weighs approximately 1 ton (2000 pounds).