A Time of Toads

Under the grey, watery skies of recent days the toads arrive. From where, we never know. We never see them arriving and we never see them go. Suddenly, they are just there. At this moment in the year. To find a mate. To procreate. To fulfil the primeval urge.

When we created this pond several years ago, how did the toads know it was there? How did they know to make use of it just the morning after it was full enough with rainwater for conditions to be right? What intrinsic communication system informed them? A mystery that I’m not really keen to unravel. A mystery I’d like to stay a mystery, just so I can marvel, year on year.

This pair, camouflaged to look like the stones they rest on. Amazing! I’m unable to get too close for fear they will hop off into the water.

Toad on toad camouflage

Toad on toad camouflage

Those unblinkered stares. I’m clearly disturbing their pursuits. They don’t seem bothered by the plastic ducks though.

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Dive! Dive! A toad heading for the deep of the pond.

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Others clamber on to the plants to await the passing of a mate.

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Another toad has taken refuge far up in the overflow pipe, his voice magnified and resonating making himself sound much larger than he is.

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This pair have taken themselves off not so discreetly to the side of the pond for a little private canoodling.

The ritual will last just a few days then, just as silently as they came, the toads will melt away again, leaving only their sticky trails of spawn as evidence that they had ever been there.

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4 thoughts on “A Time of Toads

  1. Helen Devries

    Super photographs!
    We had them in France…that chorus! And here we have not only toad toads but also cane toads, which I could live without given their risk to the dogs.

    Reply
    1. lindsay53 Post author

      Thanks Helen. Yes, when in full cry, the toad chorus is deafening! Are cane toads poisonous? I know our cat Huey & young dog Jezebel are endlessly fascinated by the movement of the toads in the pond. Cat & dog TV! Here it’s those lovely green lizards that are poisonous should a passing cat, for example try to ‘play’ with it. We know of a couple of cats that have met a prolonged and painful end that way. Such is nature…!

      Reply
      1. Helen Devries

        Yes, very much so…when attacked they emit a sort of slime around their heads which goes straight for the dog’s heart and if not treated is fatal. We had two goes with the Alsatian…Danilo showed us what to do…pour milk into them to neutralise the venom, being careful that it doesn’t go down into the lungs, as much as you can, and finish it off with the juice of a couple of lemons – limon mandarina here, a variety with orange flesh to wash round the mouth and gums. None of it a joke when the dog has its teeth tightly clenched.

        The heart rate is so fast that an unfit dog will go out rapidly…luckily in both cases we brought the Alsatian round, sitting with him on the path until he recovered.
        Needless to say in half an hour of recovery he had forgotten all about it and was looking for food….

      2. lindsay53 Post author

        Oh my word! Lucky you have the knowledgeable Danilo on hand. Worst thing must be not knowing what is happening and then not knowing what to do once you do know. So many things to be wary of on the part of our animals. It will soon be time for the processional caterpillars to be on the move here….another thing to keep the dogs away from!

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