Great Basin Spadefoot
The great basin spadefoot is a small, round toad, usually gray or olive green in color. When sitting on the ground, a spadefoot can look a lot like a large pebble with its short, stubby legs and round, plump body. Spadefoots have bumpy skin, but are not quite as “warty” as western toads. The spadefoot's most noticeable feature is the reason it got its name: the small, black “spade” on the first toe of each hind foot. This special foot, which works like a spade or shovel, allows them to dig into loose soil for shelter.
Habitat: Spadefoots like to live in forested areas and sagebrush flats, so there are many of them living on BLM lands. However, if you want to see one, you will have to look at night because they are nocturnal, meaning they like to come out after the sunset. They use their hind spade feet to burrow in loose soil, or they will use the burrows of other animals. These toads burrow during extremely hot and dry weather and when it rains, they come out of their burrows. They also hibernate from October to early April.
Food: True to their toad nature, spadefoots feed on insects, such as ants, beetles, and grasshoppers. But they must be cautious; they can easily become a meal for owls, herons, crows, snakes, and coyotes.
Fun Facts: During dry weather and drought, spadefoots burrow and may not be seen until rains come, which could be up to 10 years apart.
A Great Basin spadefoot found in Eastern Idaho