The Asian black-spined toad is described as stocky, about nine to 15 centimetres in size, with a relatively small head and short hind limbs. Adults look similar to cane toads but they don’t grow as large.
The colour of the toad varies, from greyish to red-brown to almost black. The most common colour is pale yellow-brown with dark or reddish-brown streak and spots.
Its back is covered in various-sized round black warts often surrounded by a darker pigment and capped with dark, distinctive spines. Their head has elevated bony ridges, with long dark crests that border the eyelids and run down either side of the eye. They have black tipped, hooked toes.
The Asian black-spined toad is a ground-dweller, a poor climber and unable to jump very high due to the absence of large toe pads.
It is nocturnal so shelters during the day under rocks, leaf-litter, logs and man-made structures such as drains, rubbish piles and houses. At night they often gather beneath lights to catch insects.
The call of the Asian black-spined toad sounds like a telephone dial tone (creo-o-o; cro-ro-ro-ro), sustained for about 30 seconds, repeated monotonously. It is very different to most native frog calls. It is heard at night and sometimes on overcast days.