Medium sized, reaching 2.75" (70mm). Dorsum is greenish to brown with creamy yellow or light greenish stripes; underside is creamy yellow to gray. Eyes are large and brassy in color with vertical pupils. Parotoid glands are small and rounded. Skin covered with tiny warts, many tipped with orange pigment. Hind feet have a hard black crescent-shaped spade located at the heel which aides in digging.
Eggs laid in stringy gelatinous masses attached to submerged debris or float freely if debris is not available; hatch within 2 days. Tadpoles are brown to bronze; underside clear to yellow; upper tail fin may be fringed with orange to red; snout pointed or beak-like. Metamorphose within 10 days.
The only spadefoot east of the Mississippi River; the only spadefoot with a distinct tympanum. Usually found in uplands with sandy or loose soils vegetated by pines and oaks (habitats somewhat resembling those inhabited by spadefoots of arid western areas). Rarely seen except during heavy evening rains with barometric pressure below 29.9 when large numbers become active to breed in the subsequent temporary ponds and ditches. Spades on the hind feet are used to excavate burrows up to 10" (25cm). Fluids secreted from the skin may cause irritation to the eyes and skin so wash thoroughly after handling. These toads smooth out their burrows by working its skin secretions in with the soil and packing it with its body. The burrow entrance may be nearly covered with loose soil.
True toads have a horizontal pupils while those of the eastern spadefoot are vertical.
Grunt-like, nasal "quonk" repeated every 10 seconds or may resemble the call of a young crow; all year depending upon heavy rains causing temporary pools. Males call while stretched out floating on water. A chorus may be heard for long distances.
This frog has been observed at the following locations. Click on the map to view the data.
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