Spencer's Burrowing Frog (Opisthodon spenceri)
Spencer’s Burrowing Frog

One of the most common frogs in Central Australia, is the Spencer’s Burrowing Frog (Opisthodon spenceri). The Spencer’s Burrowing Frog is similar in appearance to the Ornate Burrowing Frog (Opisthodon ornatus), the only other species within the genus Opisthodon. One of the key differences is the presence of webbing in the toes of the Spencer’s Burrowing Frog, it being absent in the Ornate Burrowing Frog.

This small frog is native to the western and central region’s of Australia. During dry seasons the frog spends its time burrowed deep underground and usually only emerge where there is significant rain or water.

A short, rotund frog with a small head and large eyes, the frog has a speckled pattern over their backs, varying in colouration from cream, grey to dark brown.

The Spencer’s Burrowing Frog, emerge from their hibernation by digging their way up out of the sand. The male frogs (smaller in size then the female), make their calls and mate. The females, which are distinctly larger than the male, then lay their eggs in the ponds.

Spencer's Burrowing Frog emerging from it's hibernation burrow
Spencer’s Burrowing Frog emerging from it’s hibernation burrow.

In the following photos you can see the encrustation of fine sand still on the back of the frogs, having just emerged from their underground burrows.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Amphibia
  • Order: Anura
  • Family: Myobatrachidae
  • Genus: Opisthodon
  • Species: O. spenceri
  • Binomial name: Opisthodon spenceri
Spencer's Burrowing Frog (Opisthodon spenceri)
Spencer’s Burrowing Frog (Opisthodon spenceri), Simpsons Gap, NT