It is found in the southeastern United States, except for mountainous areas, and is also found northward along the Atlantic Coast, through the Mid-Atlantic states, into southern New England, including eastern Massachusetts. It is found in inland states such as Pennsylvania and New York, but only as far westward as the appalacian mountains, and the Hudson River Valley in New York.
The average length (head + body) of an adult Eastern spadefoot is 44–57 mm (1¾-2¼ in).
It is brownish with two yellowish stripes on its back. These stripes, which begin on the upper eyelids, may diverge or converge, resulting in a pattern resembling a lyre or an hourglass. Some specimens may be very dark, with less distinct markings.
It has one spur on each of its back feet for burrowing.
It spends almost all of its life deep underground; coming out only to breed, and sometimes eat. It remains in a type of hibernation almost all its life. It burrows in a spiral, preferring sandy soils.
- IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group (2015). "Scaphiopus holbrookii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2015: e.T59042A64981907. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
- Frost, Darrel R. (2015). "Scaphiopus holbrookii (Harlan, 1835)". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
- Conant, Roger. 1975. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Second Edition. Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 429 pp. ISBN 0-395-19977-8 (pbk.) (Scaphiopus holbrooki holbrooki, p. 299 + Plate 44 + Map 253.)
- "Eastern Spadefoot Toad". eNature. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
- Bo Beolens; Michael Watkins; Michael Grayson (22 April 2013). The Eponym Dictionary of Amphibians. Pelagic Publishing. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-907807-44-2.