Eastern Spadefoot

Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii) facing to the left sitting on dry leaf litter.
Eastern Spadefoot

NPS Photo

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Amphibia
  • Order: Anura
  • Family: Scaphiopodidae
  • Genus: Scaphiopus
  • Species: holbrookii

Skin relatively smooth and olive to brown to almost black in color, often with 2 light yellowish colored lines down back that start at each eye. Together the lines may form a lyre or misshapen hourglass shape. May be an additional light line on each side of the body. Belly white to grayish. Sickle-shaped spade on each hind foot. Tympanum apparent. Pupils of eyes vertical. No parotoid gland on head. This is the only spadefoot to occur east of the Mississippi River.


4.4 to 8.3 cm long (1 ¾" to 3 ¼")


Breeds after rains fill temporary pools March to September.


Uses loose sandy or gravelly soils in forested, brushy or cultivated areas. Lives in shallow burrows.




Calls are short, low-pitched explosive grunts that are repeated at brief intervals.

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Last updated: March 12, 2019

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