They lay eggs by hundreds. In season, they croak all night and make us irritable to the extent that we almost rush out with sticks to beat them! But we don't. By that time, sleep again continues! They hide beneath rocks and crevices that they find with uncanny intelligence! They hibernate better than my PC can. I did not know that there was a setting similar to 'stand by' in the PCs till a friend showed me recently! They leap around in the evening, sometimes close to our feet risking their lives. They hop off like children when they see me or others and dive into the water. Interesting creatures! Here are three of them, one is dead, unfortunately. I don't know why they drown like that! This is the second one in 3 months. The pond has tadpoles by the hundreds. Yet, the water is turning green with algae - gets full sun though. The female is dead here, the male does not seem to know. One more male clings on the 'wrong side', but this fellow also does not know of the poor thing's fate.
Don't know which species of toad you have. Here we don't have any toads as a natural part of our fauna, but the cane toad, Bufo marinus, was introduced last century with disasterous ecological results. One of the characteristics of the toads seems to be that males stay close to water waiting for females who eventually respond to their calls. When the female moves in closer the males rush her and if enough are there will form a 'ball' around her often resulting in the female being drowned. Because of them producing so many eggs, having so many females drowning helps keep the population down.
Thanks for the information. They are in good number, but they have not been much of a nuisance. They are part of insect control. I wonder if cats catch these toads for food. Crows are known to feast on dead ones. As I post this, I hear at least 4 of them croaking. That female must have choked unable to rise to the surface due to the weight of the males?
Haven't heard of frogs or toads getting egg bound, but all sorts of malfunctions/deformities occur in nature so probably it's possible. I'd be more inclined to think the males drowned her. I've seen lots of otherwise inexplicably dead females in water. Male toads are not known to be 'gentlemen'. ;O)
Another thing with frogs and toads, you get some years when their numbers get higher than normal, and later a population collapse in successive years. It's probably better to say there is no "normal" population density, but a population range. Perhaps you're now in the high population part of the cycle. It happens here also when in some years you can't even hear yourself think for their (the frogs in our case) racket. But it's nice to know they're still there. Frogs are an indicator of the health of the environment.
Some toads are toxic and would kill some of the things that eat them. Crows are clever enough to eat toads from the belly where there is least toxicity.
We sure get them here, by the dozens! They do make a lot of noise for a few nights. Here are just a few pairs doing what they do and one male singing for a female. Since the noise is short term we just laugh it off. Plus, the toad tad poles eat every speck of algae in the pond until they grow legs and hop onto dry land. The pond is never cleaner then when it's full of hungry tadpoles. (The koi do not eat toad tadpoles.) The adult toads are very beneficial in the gardens because they eat a lot of insects. So, we're happy to have them, even though they sing all through the night for a few nights.
We have seemingly thousands in our ponds. They are so loud at night that if you sat outside (hardly an option this time of year in the PNW), you could barely carry on a conversation with someone. By May or so, it will die down immensely. Actually the herons, ospreys, and owls do a rather good job of control.
I guess I am a strange bird...I like the croaking toads--they seranade me to sleep. Some evenings I will take the flashlight out and watch them; they seem to have no fear--they continue business while those on the sidelines expand their throats. There are so many of them, however, that I have to be careful that I don't step any. I actually saw them having an orgy in my pond one evening--about six toads all wrapped up into a ball; unfortunately though, the next day, one was dead at the bottom of the pond--must have been in the middle. Yes, the fornicating toads are quite the topic of conversation and it brings a smile to my face. I know it is work to scoop out eggs afterwards (I got about 1 gallon this year), but I love to observe nature in action. Soon, it will be the tree frogs..they have quite a melodic song.
Dinu: I get grossed out seeing your frog picture so much on the opening page that I am avoiding this forum until the frog interest dies... I'm not usually bothered by much but that picture gives me the creeps. Got any nice lotus pictures to add????? LOL!
Yea, it was not a pleasant sight, but I wanted to know. I should have posted in my second post without anything in the first. That could have helped you and probably many others. Glad I posted the picture, I learnt that it was a new phenomenon. Should I request the admin to move that to the second place, if that is possible?
Here's a picture of water lily that pleases the toad's eyes as well as mine!
The female toads normally do grow much bigger than males, although some males can get quite big as well. Here we have the introduced Bufo marinus - cane toad. The biggest one found was a male 205mm (8.2 inches) long but stretched out was 400mm (16 inches) long. There's possibly even larger females around that just haven't been seen yet. At my place the largest I've found was a female 170mm (about 7 inches) long (that's from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail bone, I never measure them stretched out).
The first wave of thespring toad advance arrived here last night. The pond had about ten mating pairs this morning. There were about a dozen singles caught in the skimmer. Good thing today was a scheduled day to clean it. All were happily rescued and the season "toad screen" was placed over the entrance. It takes the skim function temporarily out of the skimmer but I don't have to clean up dead toads. They float in and can't get out. I had to vacuum some sludge off the pond bottom and got about a quart of toad eggs. The next ten days to two weeks will be noisy by the pond.
This big frog made a home here. I love looking for him each day to see where he's going to be. Yesterday, he was sitting on the waterfall with the water coming down on him. I should have taken a picture of that.
I didnt realize the female toad was dead at first either. Wow, I didnt know that the toads made 'toad balls' when they were mating either. I saw a few male snakes in a ball formation with one larger female snake on a shrub last spring. I reached across the shrub to turn on the hose and it moved and when I looked down I saw the amorous snakes lol. That was a suprise!
LA Dene yes that does look like the same snakes as I saw 'getting jiggy' in the bush as my dd says LOL! There are a lot of the black racer snakes here too. They like to climb way up high on trellises or in tall shrubs and poke thier heads out at you when you walk by. About gives me a heart attack when it happens, not because I am afraid of snakes but because I am not expecting a big snake face in mine out of nowhere lol. They aren't very shy here. I am glad they eat up all the bugs.
I saw a black one in a tall shrub the other day with his head hanging out and he was grabbing wasps as the flew by. The wasps were trying to build a nest behind a wooden tellis by the front door. So I was glad they were being dinner for the snake.
Dinu do you have a lot of poisonous snakes where you live?
At least not in the premises. When the growth gets wild due to rain, a little one may get sighted but that has been quite rare. I've seen them 2-3 times and on two occasions we called that guy and he came to pick it up. People here are very afraid of the very sight and name of snake! Poisonous or non-poisonous does not matter. Many people have died of shock when even a non-p snake has bit. It is also a highly religious subject and is worshipped, esp. Cobra.
Yours is an interesting place - with snakes around. They don't harm people as we fear. They just live in their world which humans share. What a sight for you to see a snake grabbing wasps! Have you any pictures?
Wow Cobras! I would definitely be afraid of those but wouldn't kill them unless I had too. They prob eat lots of rats.
I wish I had gotten a photo of the wasps. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it.
I almost walked right into it all, if my son hadn't seen him first before I did.
I took that photo this weekend (Saturday night) just next to the house. The cane toad is toxic, but the snake is venemous. Whilst for the cane toad it was a sad outcome, you can be sure all the creatures the cane toad would have eaten that night (including cane toadlets) would have been cheering. That is, until the next large cane toad came along.
Dinu.. I enjoyed the link to the Subramanya site. You must have really enjoyed the experience. The culture of India is beautiful ! hope to see the Taj Mahal one day at least. Must get my children through college before I can make any plans. :)
The photos of my frog were taken from about three feet away. Any closer he jumps into the water and hides.
Dene..love your frog. Sure looks like he is enjoying the water on his back!
parrotma... I too have that rubber thing beside the pond! What a coincidence! But our toads don't sit like that.
Here it is almost 11 in the night and getting ready to go to bed. The toads are croaking like anything and I could not help taking my first picture of a croaking toad. I post this picture almost live! Take a look at this collage.
It's always too hot during the day here so snakes, frogs and toads only come out at night. But small toadlets are always close to the water and can regularly cool themselves down. They become more vulnerable as they tend to get nocturnal. Larger toads actively hunt the toadlets. they'll wiggle their toes while otherwise remaining very still. The toadlets think the moving toes are insects/worms/whatever and move in to eat them. However they themselves end up eaten.