Common Spadefoot

(Pelobates fuscus)


Common Spadefoot IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

With a head-body length of 60-70 mm the Common Spadefoot is a rather small toad. Males can be identified by an oval gland positioned at the top of the forelimbs, and they are a bit smaller than females.


Upperparts are greyish-yellow to brown, with light or dark brown spots. Underparts a white or light grey. It has a rather big head with protuberant eyes and a helm-like bump along the middle of the head. The pupils a uprightly slit-shaped by day and nearly round by night. Another conspicuous characteristic of this species is an up to 6 mm long heel bump on the hind legs.

Did you know?
that, when disturbed, this toad can emit a garlicky secretion, giving them also the name "Garlic toad"?


Name (Scientific) Pelobates fuscus
Name (English) Common Spadefoot
Name (French) Pélobate brun
Name (German) Knoblauchkröte
Name (Spanish) Sapo de espuelas
Local names Swedish: lökgroda
Italien: Pelobate fosco
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed


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Photo Copyright by
© Marek Szczepanek



Range In Europe from northern Italy, eastern France, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark westward to western Siberia and northwestern Kazakhstan.
Habitat Many habitat types, but mostly present in open areas and areas with loose soil where they can digg themselves in (different forests and their edges, groves, steppes, meadows, fields, parks and gardens, sand dunes).
Wild population Unknown, but rare or declining in some European countries and extinct in Switzerland.
Zoo population 16 reported to ISIS (2007), but this species is sometimes keep as pet by private owners.

In the Zoo

Common Spadefoot


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 45 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
© 2003 Pierre-Yves Vaucher

Why do zoos keep this animal

This species is only rarely kept by zoos and aquariums, education. i.e. familiarising people with a native amphibian species seldom seen in the wild being one reason for keeping them.

While globally listed in the "least concern" category by IUCN, this species is treatened in part of its range and therefore has been selected as the "Toad of the Year 2007" by DGHT.