Spadefoot toad France

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Spadefoot Toad  Pelobates fuscus  Pélobate Brun

The Spadefoot toad has a large head with prominent eyes and vertical pupils. It has a squat, stocky body of 6 to 8cm with a light beige or greyish skin marked with dark bands or blotches, in some instances they are marked with small red or orange points on their flanks. The feet are largely webbed and equipped with a highly developed metatarsus tubercle or cutter which enables it to bury itself with great speed in the soft or sandy soil where it lives, often this is in cultivated zones and it doesnt appear to have any particular need for water outside of breeding times.

Photo. Spadefoot toad, France

Essentially nocturnal it spends the day in a cavity that it makes in the soil. Its prey is almost 100% insects with a particular fondness for beetles. When threatened it adopts an aggressive attitude in attempt to impress it adversary, throwing its mouth open and inflating its body. If seized it emits shrill cries which often have the effect of making the aggressor release its grip.

Coupling takes place in April until June, the eggs with a diameter of 2mm are hung in a single string of up to a metre in length, these hatch in 5 to 7 days and metamorphosis takes place during the summer in July/August.

Only found in France in Alsace, Lorraine and has been recently discovered in Indre, this is the western limit for this species, the normal range is to the east in Europe.

 


It is a species in overall decline; listed Habitat directive annex 4.