Spanish Spadefoot Toad - Pelobates cultripes - Sapo de Espuelas

Spanish Spadefoot Toad – Pelobates cultripes – Sapo de Espuelas

Spanish Spadefoot Toad – Pelobates cultripes – Sapo de Espuelas, a member of the Pelobatidae family, is a toad species known by several common names, including the Western spadefoot, Iberian spadefoot toad, Spanish spadefoot toad, and Wagler’s spadefoot toad. This species is primarily found across the Iberian Peninsula, with isolated populations in southern and western France.

Physical Characteristics

The Spanish spadefoot toad is a medium-sized toad, typically measuring around 7 to 8 cm in length. It has a distinctive spade-like protrusion on its hind feet, which it uses to burrow into the soil. Its skin is usually greenish-grey or brown, with darker spots or blotches. The toad has a broad head and eyes with vertical pupils.

Habitat and Behavior

This species is found in a variety of habitats, including sandy soils, dunes, and grasslands. It is active mainly at night and is an excellent burrower. The toad spends most of its life underground and emerges to breed during the rainy season, typically between February and April.


The Spanish spadefoot toad is carnivorous and feeds on a range of invertebrates, including beetles, spiders, and snails.


Breeding typically occurs in temporary pools or ponds created by rainwater. Males call to attract females, and once they mate, the female lays strings of eggs that attach to vegetation in the water. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, which develop into toadlets within a few months.

Conservation Status

The Spanish spadefoot toad is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, some populations have experienced declines due to habitat destruction and fragmentation.

Status in Spain

In Spain, the Spanish spadefoot toad is protected by law, and its capture or trade is prohibited. The species is found throughout most of the country, with the exception of the Balearic Islands and parts of the north.

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