how do you care for a great basin spadefoot toad?



  1. 0 Votes

    Spadefoot toads aren’t incredibly common pets since they tend to be nocturnal, but they are, consequently, pretty interesting little creatures.  Your best resource will probably be to cruise some of the message boards I’ve linked below.

    As you may know, Spadefoots prefer drier climates, and often live along shorelines — so creating an enclosure would probably be a good starting point.  Check out the first link below for some interesting enclosure ideas.  Make sure you include a decent amount of sand or dirt, since Spadefoots tend to burrow down underground.

    These critters are pretty carnivorous and love to munch on crickets, earthworms, beetles, etc.

    A few notes, for your reference:the Spadefoot has been “designated Special Concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).”  They will grow to about two inches long and make a deep, somewhat guttural sound – the best time to see your pet will probably be at dusk.

  2. 0 Votes

    Growing up I had two Great Basin Spadefoots as pets.  One, I raised from a polliwog, and one I caught years later as an adult toad.  They are very easy to care for as michaelovera said.  

    I kept them in a 10 gallon aquarium with approximately 3 inches of sand. Check the sand weekly and make sure it’s moist, but not wet.  They need to be able to breath under it.  The toads burrow and like to spend most of their time under the sand, but will pop up usually at night or when you water the sand.  Change the sand every couple months because the toads are going to poop in there and it will get stinky after a while.

    I fend mine grasshoppers and sometimes earthworms during the warm months when I could find plenty of live grub for them in the backyard.  Over the winter, I would buy crickets and sometimes mealy worms at from the pet store.  I would not feed them nightcrawlers or anything too big because they may try to eat it even if they cannot swallow it all the way.  I’m not sure what would have happened,  but I was rather disturbed at the sight of one of my toads only being able to get half a nightcrawler down so I carefully snipped it in half while it was hanging out of his mouth and he managed to get what was left down.

    The toads (or at least mine did) have a reflexive strike when anything that looks like it could be food gets too near.  This included finger tips.  No harm to either fingers or toads will occur if they nail you.  You get to feel a sticky tongue, but they figure out it’s not something they can swallow and instantly let go.  The most you have is an annoyed toad, though it’s hard to tell because they always have what could be taken a rather annoyed expression on their faces.  They will strike at the glass if they are near it and you put your finger against it. I don’t think it causes any lasting harm,  but it probably isn’t nice to trick them into banging their tongue and face against a hard surface.

    They will find their food by themselves when they come up at night,  but have no objection to eating if you dig them out of their sand in the middle of the day.  Be prepared to be peed on though.  They often tend to void their bladders when handled.

    This was my experience with them and it seemed to keep them fat and happy for years.  

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