formerly Scaphiopus intermontanus
Great Basin Spadefoot / Crapaud du Grand Bassin
Spadefoots differ from other frogs and toads by their vertical pupil,
relatively smooth skin, teeth in their upper jaw and absence of
parotoid glands. They also have a
horny, sharp, dark edged knob or
"spade") on the inner surface of the hind foot. The Great Basin Spadefoot is a stout
bodied animal with a glandular hump between the eyes. The spade is wedge shaped. The skin
is fairly smooth gray-green to olive with numerous small scattered bumps which may be
orange. There may be light stripes on the flank. The belly is white. Adults can grow to
call is a series of short harsh nasal sounding snores. The time between each snore
is approximately the same as the length of the snore.
The Tailed Frog also has vertical pupils but
does not have a tympanum and lives in very different habitat. The
Plains Spadefoot looks very similar, however,
the hump between the eyes is bony rather than glandular and the spade may be round or
wedge-shaped. Fortunately their ranges do not overlap -- the Plains Spadefoot is not found
in British Columbia.
The Great Basin Spadefoot is restricted to the Okanagan and Thompson/Nicola valleys of
southern British Columbia. It is more widely distributed through the Great Basin of the
western United States, as far south as Arizona.
The Great Basin Spadefoot is found in arid areas with loose soil near its breeding sites.
In British Columbia it breeds in vernal ponds and semi-permanent alkali lakes.
Breeding is triggered by substantial rain which fills breeding sites. Eggs hatch in less
than a week and the tadpole stage is relatively brief.
Great Basin Spadefoots are nocturnal. They avoid the heat and dryness of the day by
burrowing underground with their spades. They emerge on mild, damp evenings to forage
and breed.Sometimes they are brought to the surface by driving over or stamping near
their burrowing site. It is believed that they mistake the vibrations for the sound of
heavy rain falling. Spadefoots also spend the winter burrowed underground.
The Great Basin Spadefoot appears to have declined throughout its range in British
Columbia. It is vulnerable to habitat destruction by cattle and recreational vehicles.
The Great BasinSpadefoot is designated Threatened by