Adult Couch’s Spade Foot Toads

Adult Couch’s Spade Foot Toads (Scaphiopus couchii) are funny, tubby and shockingly circular frogs with big appetites. These nocturnal toads can be observed on wet nights primarily in the summer, but I have witnessed individuals in the spring and fall as well. Hopping to and fro, eating all kinds of insects and spiders, in our yard I have even witnessed a toad gorging himself on the many insects attracted to one of our lights.

After the summer rains, when the tadpoles have already metamorphosed into their adult form close to the pool in which the eggs were laid, there are small, adorable toads EVERYWHERE!  As they age, they start adding mass and growing their bellies to the point where their bellies stick out past their legs. Once they are of larger carriage, the toads head underground for most of the winter, as the dry season will usually be well underway.

Interestingly, these toads have a unique shovel on their back feet that helps them dig, hence the name: spade foot toad. If picked up, they will proceed to jump out of your hands constantly and pee all over you, making them not one of the most pleasant creatures to hold, but they are harmless. 

As the wet season progressed this summer, I was very worried that my cat, Zorro, would capture and eat the toads during the wet nights in which toads were abundant, so I watched him one night. After a while, he approached a small toad that I had not seen. Confidently, he swaggered up and proceeded to study it intently. After a few seconds, he sat down and placed his paw directly on top of the toad, which just sat there for a minute before hopping away, and Zorro soon walked away as well. I have, therefore, happily concluded that toads are considered boring to cats.