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Florida Boardwalk Animal Fact Sheet

Spadefoot toads are widely distributed over Europe, southern Asia, northwest Africa, and North America. There are five North American species. Except for the eastern Spadefoot, the North American species are found in the southwestern United States and in Mexico. The toad's name comes from the spade-like appendage on its hind feet. These are used for digging backward. The toad will burrow into the ground during dry weather, staying there in the cool, damp underground for up to a year without eating, waiting for the rain to bring it back above ground.
Habitat: Deserts, spending most of their time underground, but they will come to the surface at night after heavy rainfall when the air is moist, so that they can feed.
Diet: Insects and other small arthropods.
Status: Least Concern, not considered to be an endangered species.
Approximate Dimensions of Adult:

Weight: 50 - 100g (1.7 - 3.5oz).

Length: 1 ½ to 3 ½ inches (4 to 9 cm).

Lifespan: Approx. 3 to 12 years.
Reproduction & Offspring:

The Spadefoot comes out of its underground burrow after a heavy rain to mate. Male toads gather in ditches, puddles and other small (and usually temporary) bodies of water to sing in an attempt to attract females. Eventually the male will clasp the female from the back, which stimulates egg laying. The female Spadefoot will lay up to 2,000 eggs. The egg sac attaches to partially submerged vegetation or other objects in the water. After she has laid her eggs, the male deposits its sperm on them. Within 15 hours, tiny tadpoles will emerge. After hatching, the tadpole's only chance for survival is to develop into a frog before the water dries up. The tadpoles can transform into a frog in 12 to 13 days. This is the fastest metamorphosis known for any frog or toad. The young frog that develops from the tadpole will have to quickly find a meal, before digging into the earth to await the next heavy rain.


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