Spadefoot Toad

A dark green bumpy toad in the hollow of a gloved hand
A single spadefoot toad was identified in Yellowstone National Park in 2013. A breeding population of Plains spadefoot toads was confirmed in 2014.



Scientific Name

Spea bombifrons


  • A single breeding population has been identified in the Lower Geyser Basin east of Fairy Creek in Yellowstone National Park.
  • Protruding eyes with vertical pupils, and a prominent bony boss (raised bump) between the eyes.
  • 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 following significant rainfall.
  • Tadpoles develop from eggs in 2 to 6 days.
  • Produces cannibalistic and noncannibalistic tadpole body types.
  • Tadpoles develop for 3 to 6 weeks before metamorphosis.
A tan frog with some dark spots on glistening green vegetation

Boreal Chorus Frog

Boreal chorus frogs are common with conspicuous calls.

A frog on a small log with white belly and dark green back reflected in water

Columbia Spotted Frog

To survive the winter, Columbia spotted frogs go into water that does not freeze.

A bumpy, black spotted rests on top of another toad

Western Toad

Western toads were once common throughout Yellowstone.

Two dark green glistening salamanders with light green bellies side by side on gravel

Western Tiger Salamander

Western tiger salamanders are common and abundant in some areas of Yellowstone.

A frog with stretched chin in water


Amphibians are valuable indicators of stressors such as disease or climate change.

Last updated: June 9, 2017

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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