January 11, 2021
Ben here with the Monday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!
Herp Month rolls on this week as we count down the top five rarest frogs and toads in Virginia starting with our number five pick: Scaphiopus holbrookii, the eastern spadefoot toad.
The eastern spadefoot isn't necessarily a rare toad; they can be found throughout much of the southeastern U.S. and in more than 60 localities in Virginia. However, actually finding one is a cause for celebration because these toads spend a huge portion of their lives underground, visiting the surface mainly to eat and breed.
Adult eastern spadefoot toads prefer habitats with sandy or loamy soils, and they spend most of their lives in their burrows (although individuals can occasionally be found at the surface underneath logs). According to the Virginia Herpetological Society website, one study showed that eastern spadefoots may use the same burrow for several years and visit the surface only around 29 nights per year!
If you're lucky enough to spot an eastern spadefoot, be sure to take a photo of it and visit the Virginia Herpetological Society website (www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com). Scroll to the bottom of the page and you'll see a button marked "Spadefoot Reporting." Submit your photo and fill out a brief survey, and you'll help our friends at VHS figure out where these awesome little toads can be found!
Thank you to the Virginia Herpetological Society for the use of this photo, which was taken by Jason Gibson.
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust.
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!