Saturday, August 15, 2009

Frog and Toad Are Friends

Our children are big animal-lovers, especially Bethany. Frogs and toads are a favorite, and the children frequently find them in our yard. We are getting a collection of photos of these little 'friends,' so I thought I may as well share some of them, for our own amusement as well as for the interest of any amphibian lovers who may read this. Perhaps someone can help us identify them with more certainty. We have caught a few that look somewhat different, but many look like this little guy (or gal, whichever, I'm no toad gender expert):

This is a toad they caught last summer. More pictures:

<==This one is their favorite picture.

No it's not dead, but maybe trying to pretend it is in the hopes we'll leave it alone!

We've had fun trying to identify the creatures we find. We think the toad in the above pictures is an Eastern American Toad, as are most of the ones we find. You can see the parotoid glands behind the eyes (the large, light brown kidney-shaped raised spots) and the mottling on the belly, both of which are things this species is distinguished by. We also hear their characteristic call at night -- you can listen to it at this link-- but they don't like to sing for us when we're holding them prisoner.

We think we might have had one Fowler's Toad. It's not technically supposed to live in our area, though its territory is close to where we live. I say we 'had' one b/c I think that's the one that got killed by our cat, much to the children's sorrow. I don't have a picture of that one, either alive or half-eaten, sorry.

Here are the older children with it outdoors:

Time to let it go. It quickly got to those weeds and hid under a leaf.

This summer they were so eager to catch a toad, it seemed they never would! But when the weather got good and hot there were plenty to be found. A couple of times they've also been able to catch frogs (it could be the same one each time -- they've looked exactly the same to my knowledge, unlike the toads which will often vary in size and sometimes in other features), which we think are Plains Leopard Frogs. Here's one; you can see Tirzah peeking at it:

There is rumored to be a bigger frog living under our patio, but I haven't had the pleasure of seeing it. It's apparently pretty skittish.

This particular day the children were pleased to catch both a frog AND a toad, and they were even fairly close to the same size. That provided a nice opportunity to compare the two.

Have you read any of the Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel? This day our frog and toad were playing the parts. Toad was a bit uptight and didn't want to sit still a minute, while Frog was more laid back. This picture blurred a bit and needed the flash, but you can see Toad's legs stretched out as he tries to hop away -- shorter and not as strong as Frog's.

Bethany gently held Toad still so I could try for a better shot.

"Hurry up! I've got things to check off my list!" says Toad.

A little over a week later we were outside in the yard taking pictures spontaneously:

Bethany is really looking more grown up in these pictures. She's a good big sister, and very fond of Liberty. Liberty is a day shy of a month old in these photos.

Who else was outdoors that fine day in late June? Why, it's our friend Toad -- maybe the same one. Or maybe not; he wasn't saying.

Liberty thought Toad was very interesting, as you can see. :)

I love this picture of Zion. :)

You might think I did this on purpose, but I was actually trying to get both of our full faces in the picture, lol. I liked it better of me this way though -- the less of me, the better. ;)

Toad was content to sit a little better (for a few moments -- at one point he jumped right on Liberty) for photos on this day.

Thanks for indulging our love of amphibians. It's homeschool, you know. Love it or leave it... we love it! :)


  1. How fun! That's great you were able to teach them the differences with a live model. Great pictures, thanks for sharing. I'm trying to finish getting my blog moved over--I'm not good at figuring something new out when I already know the 'old way'! :)

  2. Love the picture of the baby looking at the toad! How fun!