October 1st, 2007
Teeny Tiny Toads

small toad
Teeny tiny toad (about the size of my thumbnail) presses against the side of a jar, impatient to get the photo shoot over. Doesn’t it look like something from ‘Alien’?

Last week I was alarmed when all the tadpoles disappeared from the pond what seemed like overnight. This happened about the same time the water suddenly cleared and I wondered if a chemical imbalance had occurred and killed off the tadpoles. Would dead tadpoles float to the top of the pond or sink to the bottom? Was it possible that the tadpoles had morphed into toads and hopped out of the pond? Maybe some of them, but they were all of different sizes so it seemed, to me, unlikely that they all turned tail at once.

This morning while watering the squash and beans I noticed a little movement in the dark mulch. Cricket? No smaller. I got down on my hands and knees and there were several teeny, tiny toads. (At least I assume they’re toads.) Are these my little tadpoles all grown up? If so, what a proud nursemaid am I!

People often tell me that I’m observant and keep good records. I feel that it’s just the opposite. I never seem to catch the significant details. And I always end up with more questions than answers.

by M Sinclair Stevens

16 Responses to post “Teeny Tiny Toads”

  1. From Pam/Digging:

    Hoppy October! Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  2. From Annie in Austin:

    In the same spirit, I’m glad taking photos was on your Toad-do list.


  3. From Carol (Indiana):

    Can’t resist…

    Just goes to show that gardening is toad-al fun!

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

    Y’all are killing me with these puns. — mss

  4. From Bob Pool:

    We recently noticed toad eggs in a rain catchment tub. I wondered of what they would eat when they hatched. (Ummmm do toads hatch?) O`well, back to the story. Well, they hatched,and so the search for toad food began. We found that the fish food for our koi was delicious,—I mean for the toads. They are growing rapidly and a board has been placed in anticipation of their mass exit. No trouble is to much to acquire that many bug eating machines. Good luck with yours. Bob.

    The board sounds like a good idea. I was wondering how they’d get out of the pond. There is a plant next to the edge. Maybe they used that as a springboard. — mss

  5. From Yolanda Elizabet (The Netherlands):

    Tadpoles leave the water when their front legs appear. They then lose the ability to breath in the water and have to move on dry land. A clever move, as they have less enemies on land than in the water. So them leaving your pond was toadally normal (just thought I’d join in the fun of wordplay).

    Here I was feeling a bit down, slogging through garden chores and wondering where the joy had gone. Then I come in and read all these funny comments. I love gardening and garden bloggers. — mss

  6. From M2 in Bothell:

    Now I’ve got the phrase “teeny tiny toads” going through my head, over and over.

    Loved the pic. Magically icky.

    teeny tiny toads!

  7. From ml, maine:

    We still have our frogs – just three, from hundreds of tadpoles – here in October, in our tiny water-garden pond. They’ll soon disappear to find bigger bodies of water where they can immerse themselves in the mud on the bottom to winter over. It’s so nice to still have them sunning themselves on rocks and croaking. They’re beautiful creatures.

    You’re lucky to have your tiny toads. They add so much interest to the garden.

    I usually see a larger toad or two but this is the first year I’ve had the pond and the first year I’ve seen so many itty bitty babies. Yep. My yard’s hoppin’. — mss

  8. From Ki:

    I wish we had toads here. Your tiny toad looks too cute. Well, toada-loo.

  9. From Diana Kirby (Austin):

    How cute! Amazing that you could chronicle their transformation. Our yard is over run with toads – and I think they are pooping all over our patio and garage. At least that’s my best guess as to the source of the poop! We have so many toads that when I returned some plants to the nursery one early morning last week and came back with more to put into my trunk, there was a TOAD – sitting in the middle of my trunk, staring at me! I screamed, needless to say, and then carefully urged him up and out onto some grassy/muddy area off the parking lot. Felt bad about taking him so far from home – but hey – what a story he’ll have to tell! (Glad I didn’t run a bunch of errands that day without opening the trunk!)

  10. From Rantor Austin:

    I’m used to seeing tiny toads from a bird’s-eye view only. I assume that this little one is very dark on top, and quite stripeless? I recently learned to recognize butterfly eggs on plants such as oleanders and asclepias; I had formerly assumed them to be evidence of some sort of disease!

  11. From Angelina (Oregon):

    Although I have no desire to keep amphibians as pets, I would so enjoy seeing them and occasionally catching them to have a close look at them, I think they are unbearably cute. even when they get larger.

  12. From kate:

    Teeny tiny toads tumble through the thyme tidily.

  13. From Bonnie in Austin:

    I feel so left out not having a toad of frog hatchery after reading all of the comments. I used to have a pond when I was little and would let the tadpoles nibble on my feet and then watch as they gradually all grew legs and moved out of the pond. Lovely!

    I grew up in the desert southwest, so this is my first experience with tadpoles. They’re so cute. I feel sorry for all the kids, like my own did, who grow up in apartments and don’t get to mess around near small streams or ponds. — mss

  14. From Cheryl in Michigan:

    I was wondering the same thing! This morning I went out to mow the grass and I have over 100 of those teeny tiny toads everywhere! I quit mowing, hoping I didn’t kill any. My neighbors will not be happy, the yard looks terrible, hopefully they will leave the yard soon! I had this happen about 10 years ago and never had seen it again until today! I live on a hill above a pond, but these toads can’t even climb over a blade of grass without a lot of effort, so they must of hatched from a burrow. The reason I say that is it would have taken them weeks to climb the hill from the pond below and they wouldn’t be so young by the time they got here to my yard! They are cute though!

  15. From Emily Wants Tadpoles:

    Does anyone know where i can find some tadpoles currently. I had some last year and i really really really want some more. Or frogs would work too.

  16. From John:

    Why have we still got tadpoles in October?
    we had hundreds earlier in the year and many of them have hopped off as small frogs but we still have a lot of tadpoles.