Posts Tagged ‘American toad’

Penny toad

I cam across the first fully metamorphosed American toad of the year this morning. They are about the size of pennies, and one good name I’ve heard for them is “penny toads.”


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Toad porn

The first mating toads of the year!


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I filmed this clip about ten days ago:


I don’t know if these are American toads or Fowler’s toads. Both species live in my area, and both species can hybridize. These two could be a mixed couple.

Amphibian engage in an act called amplexus. It is not copulation. The eggs are laid unfertilized, and the male fertilizes them outside her body. In this species, the female lays black eggs that come out surrounded in a jelly like string. She wraps these around twigs and leaf litter.

When the tadpoles hatch, they are tiny black things. They are also somewhat toxic.

It is well-known that the adults produce toxins from the glands on either side of their heads. That’s what teaches dogs to leave them alone.

When fish bite the tadpoles, they get the same lesson. And fish learn to leave all American toads alone.

At the end of the summer, I often catch juvenile American and Fowler’s toads that are dispersing from the pools where they were once tadpoles.

Our watering trough can sometimes be home to a toad orgy, and the toads lay so many eggs in it, that when the tadpoles hatch, the water nearly froths with  scores of watermelon seeds with tails.

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