Great Basin Spadefoot

Spea intermontana

Habitat

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Status

Description

Threatened (Federal)
Blue Listed (Provincial)

Spadefoots are a about 4 to 6.5cm in length, have vertical slitted eyes, and grey or tan skin. They also have a small "spade" on the underside of each hind foot which they use to burrow into loose soil to hibernate or seek shelter.

Spadefoots can be found through the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, from Osoyoos and Cawston up north to Kamloops

This species has a separate requirement for different stages of the year: breeding ponds (temporary and small ponds), foraging areas (adjacent riparian and grassland areas), and hibernating sites (loose, uncompacted soil in sagebrush flats, shrub-lands or woodlands). Spadefoots spend most of their life living in their terrestrial habitats, moving to breeding ponds for just a few days per year.

Threats

Disease transmitted from invasive species (e.g.American Bullfrogs)
Predation from invasive species (e.g. Non-native fish,American Bullfrogs)
Stocking of wetlands/ponds with non-native fish
Loss of wetland habitat through destruction and modification
Wetland draining resulting in the drying up of temporary ponds
Wetland 'choking' from invasive plants
Use of pesticides and other water contaminants (or pollution)
Habitat fragmentation, causing species isolation and an increasing risk of road mortality
Livestock trampling and erosion of banks around wetlands
Swimming pools with unprotected circulation pumps
Compaction of soil through urban development, agricultural practices (including grazing and tiling), and recreational activities (ATV).

You Can Help!

Avoid releasing fish into ponds and remove introduced fish
Protect natural wetlands from livestock and fish stocking
Remove invasive frogs that may carry disease or be predacious (e.g.American Bullfrog)
Reduce wetland exposure to contaminants and pollution (e.g. increase vegetation buffers)
Protect remaining wetlands and terrestrial habitat (e.g. grasslands and forested areas)
Conserve water - over irrigation lowers the water table, and dries up small ponds
For swimming pools install floating ramps for escape, and pump filters to help keep amphibians from getting impinged
Maintain natural sandy soils and vegetation instead of using sod, gravel, or pavement
Prevent over-grazing, which causes soil compaction, and prevents the spadefoot from being able to dig itself in to the ground

Resources

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