The shovelnose frogs are the species of frogs in the genus, Hemisus, the only genus in the family Hemisotidae. They are found in tropical and subtropical sub-Saharan Africa. The shovelnose frogs are moderate-sized frogs, reaching a length of 8 cm (3.1 in). They are round-bodied, with short legs. Their heads are small and narrow, with hard, upturned noses.
The shovelnose frogs are burrowing frogs, living most of their lives underground. The female digs underground while in amplexus, and lays her eggs in an underground cavity. The male leaves through the tunnel, and the female remains with the eggs. Once sufficient rain has fallen, the female burrows with her nose towards a water source, where the tadpoles will remain until metamorphosis. The tadpoles may remain out of water up to a few days.
Unlike most burrowing frogs, the shovelnose frogs burrow head-first, as opposed to rear-first, hence their other common names - snout-burrowers. Some species are kept as pets.