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Great Basin Spadefoot Toad (Spea intermontana)

Great Basin Spadefoot Toad
Great Basin Spadefoot by the NPS

least concern
Common Name: Great Basin Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name: Spea intermontana
Family: Scaphiopodidae – American Spadefoot Toad Family
Locations: Canada and the United States
US Locations: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming
Size: 2.5 inches (6.35 cm)

The Great Basin Spadefoot Toad is found in the western United States and southwestern Canada. They live primarily in arid, desert regions where rain is hard to come by, but they have adaptations to overcome these hostiles environments. The Great Basin Spadefoot Toads are explosive breeder. Once the spring rain falls, the males migrate to ponds and start calling. Once the female arrives at the pond, the male will grasp her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female will lay her eggs while the male fertilizes them. Neither parent will provide any parental care. After mating, the eggs hatch in 2-4 days. These tadpoles can be herbivorous or carnivorous, depending on the locality. The tadpoles take over a month to fully undergo metamorphosis.

Great Basin Spadefoot Toad
photo by William Flaxington

Like all Spadefoot Toads, the Great Basin Spadefoot Toad is great at burrowing. They have powerful hind legs that have keratonized sheaths on their rear feet. This helps them to burrow deep in the ground to protect themselves from their arid environment.

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