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Amphibians of Washington

Great Basin Spadefoot toad
(Scaphiopus intermontanus)


What they look like

  • 3-6.5 cm
  • Gray, brown or olive with hourglass markings  on back
  • Have a small digging spade on hind foot
  • Underside is white

Where they live

  • In Washington State are found east of the Cascade mountains.
  • Live in dry or semi dry areas such as grasslands and prairies.
  • Prefer loose soil they can dig in and can spend several months buried underground.
  • Are terrestrial, do not rely heavily on water and are not found in water except in breeding season.


  • Breeding season is April-June after heavy spring or summer rain.
  • Eggs are attached to plants or small branches in temporary pools of water.
  • Eggs hatch within a few days and tadpoles complete metamorphosis in about one week.

Cool Biology Facts

  • They emit a smell when picked up that is similar to peanuts and can make you sneeze!
  • They have vertical pupils, unlike most other toads that have horizontal pupils.
  • Have the fastest metamorphosis rate of any North American anura.


Distribution Map


There are currently no major threats to this species.