Saturday, October 21, 2017

Toad in the Hole


Coastal BC Amphibians: Western Toad

Toad in the Hole
On a quad ride in nearby Chippewa Bay, I did a bit of exploring on my own while Wayne rode some of the new logging roads.

Wayne doesn’t like wait when I stop to take pictures, so splitting up for a while gives us both a chance to enjoy what we love best.

On the side of a new logging road covered with crushed rock, I found a Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas) hiding in a hole he had excavated under a jumble of medium sized rocks. He looked snug and well protected from other critters, but maybe not the weight of large logging trucks hauling massive loads. This is one reason they are on the B.C. Provincial Yellow List and are a species of "conservation concern."

Hiding under rocks on the side of a new logging road.

My first thought was to call him “Toad in the Hole.” I remember that was the name of a fast food booth at the Los Angeles Country Fair when I was a kid. I looked it up online and Toad in the Hole is a British dish made with sausages baked in Yorkshire pudding batter.

But enough of my culinary sidetrack. Western Toads are found in rocky areas, but usually near streams or ponds. This is because they reproduce in a water environment. Tiny young toads emerge in late summer to fall, often in large groups covering paths and roadways.

Sitting still through his photo session.

The Western Toad chooses to live in abandoned animal burrows or holes under piles of rocks. They can also dig themselves into sandy soil if it is available.

Western toads have warty skin with a large oval parotoid gland behind each eye that secretes a substance to deter predators. Toad colours vary from gray to greenish with black-spotted reddish brown warts.

A long dorsal stripe and parotoid gland behind his eye.

I took lots of pictures, but didn’t disturb my Toad in the Hole. If I was a predator, his glands would have exuded a neurotoxin with a bad taste. But I wouldn’t have to worry about catching warts. That’s just an old myth.

Toads are good to have around. They eat lots of insects; so, if you see one in your garden, leave it alone. It will be a good neighbor and fun to watch.

Do you have toads where you live? Do you have any toad stories to share? -- Margy

References: Nature: An Illustrated Guide to Common Plants and Animals BC by James Kavanagh (Lone Pine, 1993), British Columbia: A Natural History by Richard Cannings and Sydney Cannings (Greystone Books, 2004), Plants and Animals of the Pacific Northwest by Eugene N. Kozloff (Greystone Books, 1995) and B.C. Frogwatch Program (online).

13 comments :

  1. Hello, what a cute toad. You have a great eye to find the toad in the hole. I think I might have missed seeing it. I see lots of toads while out walking on our local fire roads. Lately they are hiding under the fallen leaves. Thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

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    1. Thanks for sponsoring our critters shares. - Margy

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  2. I've always really like toads! He was well hidden!

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  3. Your title is so perfect for your post. I love toads and I haven't seen one since I was very young. You did well to find this toad and capture it so magnificently. It's too bad they are on a concerned list. I hope they recover.

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    1. With the large numbers of young you would think it wouldn't be a problem, but they say their choice of road cuts for homes causes too many fatalities. - Margy

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  4. Great spotting this toad :) I think we only have frogs in New Zealand, I've never seen a toad here.

    Diana

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  5. Loved this very informative post! Great shots of the toad. Interesting info too.

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  6. An environmentalist amphibian

    ROG, ABCWu

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  7. Great photos, as the toad is well hidden by nature. I haven't seen any toads in our yard, but I've heard croaks from time to time, so they must be out there. I've seen some tiny tree frogs though - but never got any photos.

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    1. I've only seen one tree frog at the cabin but I know they are up in the forest. - Margy

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  8. Thanks everyone for stopping by and commenting on my Toad in the Hole. He was a cute find all tucked away. - Margy

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Thanks for stopping by. Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome. - Margy