Somewhere in the vicinity of Blue Jay Barrens, American Toads managed a breeding effort successful enough to cover the area with a new generation of toads. I’ve been seeing little toads everywhere from the yard to the hilltop a half mile away. Their numbers are akin to an invasion.
It doesn’t take long for newly transformed toads to become miniature replicas of their adult kin. Just a few weeks ago, this toad was just a small black tadpole. Now it has the appearance and behavior of a mature toad. The one behavioral exception might be the tendency for very young toads to travel by way of a series of short, rapid hops. A startled youngster appears almost frantic in its efforts to flee a perceived danger.
It’s been at least 20 years since I’ve seen this many young toads at Blue Jay Barrens. I would really like to identify the breeding site. My garden is full of tiny toads, but I know that the pools I developed nearby did not see any toad activity this year. It’s possible that the heavy rains we had this spring created a temporary pool somewhere that was just perfect for toads. Young toads may travel a long distance as they disperse from their nursery pool, so it’s hard to guess the distance or direction to their place of origin.
It’s fun to see the toads in the garden, but it means I have to be careful of where I put my feet. This youngster was closely watching some small beetles walking on the strawberry leaves.
I found this fellow on one of the barrens. It was nestled down in a dewy spider web and didn’t seem inclined to move. Toads often spend much of their lives away from open water. Dew can be an important source of moisture for hydration.
I managed to persuade this little guy to perch on my finger long enough to get a shot for size comparison. The hand is normal sized. The toad is tiny.