Wednesday, March 7, 2012
John Howard, Tricia West and I found this toad while out salamandering last Friday evening, and we couldn't resist making a few shots. When I was a boy, my best friend, Jeff Held, and I would often capture toads and keep them in the gravel-bottomed window wells of Jeff's' parents house. These pet toads didn't have it so bad. We loved watching them feed, and would diligently work to capture all manner of insects which we would then feed to our toads. It was - and is! - great fun to see the warty little predators use their long sticky tongues to snap up a hapless insect in the blink of an eye.
CLICK HERE for a cool YouTube video of a southern toad, Anaxyrus terrestris, adeptly snaring a moth.
males' rich sonorous trills will resonate as the boys call in the girls. Not long after, the females will deposit long helical strands of eggs in shallow water. I photographed the eggs masses above on April 30, 2010 in a small pool in West Virginia.
Those eggs soon hatch out scores of tiny toad tadpoles, and if all goes well, within a few months they'll transform to tiny toadlets and hop onto land. It apparently takes a few years for a toad to reach sexual maturity and breed, and if one makes it to ths point it can live for a good many years.