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Wildlife Wonders

Today is Toad Day!

True or False

1.  Toads will give you warts if you touch them.  False…while toads have warts on their bodies they cannot give them to humans. Warts are caused by human viruses.

2. It is completely safe to handle toads.  False…although you cannot get warts from toads they do secrete toxins (poisons) through their skin, so wash your hands after handling.  They are also known to pee themselves in self defense, especially when picked up by humans, so WASH your hands. 

3.  Toads are found in fields, gardens, meadows and forests and don’t need water to survive.   False…although they spend most of their lives in drier areas they need pools of water to breed and lay their eggs. 

4.  Toads are poisonous.  True…they have glands behind their eyes that when squeezed secrete a milk-white poisonous substance.  It is very bad for dogs.  So make sure your dog doesn’t grab a toad and if they do bring them to the vet.

Frogs vs. Toads (General differences)

Frogs:  smooth or slimy skin, lay eggs in clusters, usually live in or near water, skinny bodies with long legs, move in leaps and jumps, upper jaw with teeth.

Toads:  warty, dry skin, lay eggs in long strands, usually live on dry land, fat bodies with short legs, move in short hops, no teeth.

Three toads:  American Toad, Fowler’s Toad, Eastern Spadefoot Toad

American toad – brown or grayish brown, 3-4″, one to two warts per dark spot, belly creamy white with dark speckles. Call sounds like a long trill or a fast clock ticking

Fowler’s toad – medium size 2-3″, brown or brownish gray, 3 or more warts per dark spot, belly creamy white with no dark speckles.  Call sounds like a baby crying – waah, waah, weeh!

Eastern spadefoot toad – endangered species, 2-2.5″, brownish gray or blackish smooth skin with small, scattered warts, two yellowish stripes running down the back and forming a vase-shaped pattern, vertical pupil in large, bright yellow eyes, hind foot has “spade for digging, belly translucent white, pinkish color  Among rarest amphibian in northeastern United States.  Spend most of life in underground burrow that can be several inches, but known to dig 8 ft. Only emerge with heavy spring rains.  Call sounds like a crow – caw, caw.

https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Wildlife/Fact-Sheets/Eastern-Spadefoot

https://peabody.yale.edu/collections/vertebrate-zoology/herpetology/online-guide-amphibians-and-reptiles-connecticut

https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/frogquiz/

https://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/education/edu-graphics/toads/american_vs_fowler_toad.pdf

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