In Our Backyard: Great Basin Spadefoot Toad


If you are out at night in the Thompson Watershed you may be able to hear the call of the Great Basin spadefoot toad (Spea intermontana), which resemble the words “gwaa, gwaa” and can be heard from hundreds of meters away.

Nationally, the range of this toad is restricted to the south-central interior of British Columbia, as it is highly adapted to dry grassland valleys, making the Thompson Watershed critical habitat for these toads. Additionally, these toads are even further restricted in their habitat within this dry interior to places with wetlands which they can use for breeding.

Outside of a small region which these toads can live, they also face major threats in their environment, including road mortality, pollution in the waterbodies they inhabit, and climate change increasing the chances for drought in the region, all of which contribute to their status as threatened species.

Outside of the water, this toad also requires loose, deep soils for burrowing in the winter season, which are readily available in the Thompson-Nicola and make this region a critical refuge for this at-risk species.