Great Basin Spadefoot Toad

Spea intermontana

Great Basin Spadefoot Toad


These toads are small and round with grey-green skin and pale bellies. They have big yellow eyes with a bump between them and small bumps all over their skin. The big toe on each back foot has a “spade,” a small black piece that used for digging.

Range & Habitat

In B.C., spadefoot toads are found in the southern interior; they’re also found throughout Oregon and Washington. They like dry areas, especially grasslands, but they also need water in which to lay their eggs.

Diet & Behaviour

They eat insects and worms. During the day, these toads burrow into the soil to keep themselves moist, but at night or on a rainy day, they come out to feed.

Lifecycle & Threats

The males start calling at ponds in early spring and the females join them to lay hundreds of eggs attached to sticks and rocks in the ponds. The eggs hatch quickly, from a couple days to a week, and the tadpoles grow into toads in roughly two months. The toads dig holes in the soil to hibernate in the winter. Many animals prey on great basin spadefoots, including owls, snakes and coyotes. They are threatened by habitat loss from development in and near the grasslands, woodlands and ponds where they live.


COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

More Information


Photo: The Wandering Herpetologist

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