Spadefoot Toad, the common name for a family of amphibians. Spadefoot toads are widely distributed over Europe, southern Asia, northwest Africa, and North America. The family is named for those members that have a “spade”—a crescent-shaped projection used in digging burrows—on the side of their hind limbs.
There are five North American species, all with spades. Except for the eastern spadefoot, the North American species are found in the southwestern United States and in Mexico. They are generally greenish or brownish with various markings. Their length ranges from about 1 ½ to 3 ½ inches (4 to 9 cm), depending on the species. Their thin, smooth skin secretes a musty-smelling substance. Spadefoot toads eat insects and other small arthropods. They are active mainly at night, coming out of their burrows only when conditions are moist or wet.
Spadefoot toads make up the family Pelobatidae. The North American species are all of the genus Scaphiopus.