August 23rd, 2007
Gulf Coast Toad
The pond comes to life.
Although the new pond attached to the garden house isn’t ready for fish or plants, wildlife has already discovered it. Feral cats and grackles both drink from it. Dragonflies or damselflies (I can’t tell them apart yet) hover over it, alighting on potted plants nearby. And the last two nights we’ve heard the deep croaking of some toad.
While skimming leaves from the surface, I discovered this stringy ick, which AJM (raised in far wetter clime than I) recognized immediately as toad spawn. This morning I saw a toad creep out of the pond and hop off to the back forty. It was barely dawn so I couldn’t get a very good photo. I think it is Bufo valliceps, the Gulf Coast Toad.
When I Googled “frog spawn” I got a lot of sites in the UK. Do Americans call it something else? The UK sites are aimed at helping children protect frogs and toads and raise them to release. One site said that toads only mate where they are spawned. But that can’t be true since this toad mated in a pond that didn’t exist a year ago.
by M Sinclair Stevens