Spadefoot Toad

A bumpy toad on a gloved hand

A single spadefoot toad was identified in Yellowstone National Park in 2013.



Scientific Name

Plains Spadefoot (Spea bombifrons) or Great Basin spadefoot (Spea intermontana)

Special Information

A single, juvenile spadefoot toad was identified in the west side of the park on July 31, 2013. As a juvenile, it could not be conclusively identified, though spadefoots have been observed within or near the park boundary in the past. The observation of a juvenile so far inside the park suggests that an active breeding site is nearby.


  • Have a single, dark tubercle, or “spade,” on each of their hind feet


  • Uses it’s spade to dig shallow summer burrows or deeper winter burrows. Newly metamorphosed animals may burrow in mud near their natal pond or hide in cracks in the hard earth.
  • Typically occur in warmer climates in the western United States, and it has been speculated that spadefoots may be found in geothermally influenced habitat in Yellowstone that facilitates overwinter survival.


  • Breeds in ephemeral pools
  • Larval period is approximately 13 to 20 days

Did You Know?