S is for Spadefoot! No bumps or warty skin for these guys and their eye pupils are vertical (like a cat!) as opposed to the typical horizontal pupils of true toads. Though it seems that life in the Sonoran desert would be a problem for amphibians, spadefoots are equipped with black spade-like hind legs that are used for digging burrows in which to escape the heat of the day. Throw in the fact that they are nocturnal and it’s easy to understand why the spadefoot is rarely seen.
Spadefoots hibernate all winter but summer monsoon evenings, especially right after a downpour, are spent feeding or mating—or both! The mating call of a male sounds a lot like the bleat of a goat and seems to suit the female just fine. The female then lays her eggs in temporary pools such as puddles where they hatch in 2 -3 days and must grow and mature quickly, before the pool dries up, so that they too, can dig a burrow and await the next rainstorm.
Luckily, they can eat enough in one sitting to last an entire year in case we have a summer of insufficient rain.
They reportedly smell like peanuts when handled, but I don’t recommend it; adult spadefoots have special skin secretions that repel predators and can cause sneezing in humans, though it doesn’t always save them from birds of prey or snakes.