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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Toad Orgy

In the foreground there is a small group of toads (they are the lumps in the bottom center of the image) guarding strings of eggs

Spring is in full roar around here. The trees are greening up, flowers are blooming the birds are back and the pond is full of fish from small fry to some 4 pounders (we think). The pond is a fascinating environment. for example we had major toad orgy occurred yesterday starting early in the morning. They swam and called and laid eggs all day. This was followed by an exodus from the pond going north up the hill towards the market garden last night starting around dusk. Nate tried to eat a couple but found them nasty and spat them out. Their calls sound like some sort of alien invasion.

This morning there were still a few left overs in the pond, a few dead toads and a film of milt on the surface of the water. This afternoon one area of the pond where there is thick plant life a group of toads seem to be guarding garlands of eggs. In a week or so the pond should be boiling with tadpoles and than a second exodus from the pond to other places will occur with the new, small toads. It is highly likely the fish in the pond will be feasting on these toad eggs.

If the pond were in balance we would still have an annual toad orgy but there would also be herons, kingfishers and other birds that like to eat a toad on occasion so there would not be this explosion. In time the balance will happen but this is a young pond so the predator to prey ratio is way off, among other things.

2 comments:

cabbagekid said...

I'm fairly certain you have FROGS, not toads. Frogs hang out in and near water, where they lay eggs that become tadpoles. Toads hang out in dark, damp, earthy places where they hatch many itty, bitty little hop-toads. As a child, I used to love to carefully lift up cabbage leaves, looking for little toads to spring out.

Lucy said...

Nope they were definately toads. Like frogs, toads are amphibians and must lay their eggs in water. They did lay eggs and than left the water. Toads do not give birth to live young that I know of. And besides these critters were dead ringers for the toads hanging out in the garden right down to the lumpy skin. If they were frog they would have had smoother skin and different coloration and would still be in and around the pond.

As of yesterday the pond was free of toads except for the eggs hatching into tadpoles.