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Couch's Spadefoot Toad

Interesting Facts: The epithet "couchii" is in honor of the naturalist Darius Nash Couch, who collected the first specimen. Photographers: Clinton & Charles Robertson

Main Characteristics: Couch's Spadefoot Toads are green or yellow/green in colour. Females have dark markings, where as markings on males are not as prominent or sometimes they lack them altogether.

They have large eyes and their hind feet have spade like ridges on them, which they use to dig themselves up to 1 m (3.25 ft) into loose, sandy soil. They can remain dormant under the soil for several months and to protect themselves they create a water tight cocoon by shedding several layers of skin. This cocoon breaks down when the monsoon rains begin and they make their way up to the surface.

Couch's Spadefoot Toads reach lengths between 5.5 and 9 cms (2.25 - 3.5 inches) and they have a life expectancy of up to 13 years. Habitat: Couch's Spadefoot Toads are found in deserts and grasslands of Southern USA and Mexico. They burrow underground during droughts and can remain there for as long as 8 - 10 months. The summer monsoon rains are what brings them up to the surface.

Diet: The diet of a Couch's Spadefoot Toad consists of insects, mainly winged termites. They can eat enough termites in 1 - 2 nights to survive for one year.

Breeding: Couch's Spadefoot Toads mainly breed during spring, after the first significant storm, but sometimes they can go on to breed through out the summer. Males call from the breeding pond to attract females and eggs are laid attached to submerged vegetation.

The eggs hatch within 36 hours and the tadpoles are grey, black or bronze in colour. They metamorphose in 7 - 10 days and the rapid change into toadlets is brought on by the drying out of the breeding pond.

Latin Name Scaphiopus couchii
Conservation Status Least Concern
Location South USA & Mexico
Colour Yellow/Green
Length 5.5 - 9 cms (2.25 - 3.5 inches)
Habit

Mostly Terrestrial

Breeding Season

Spring & Summer

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