I never encountered as many toads as I did this summer. I knew they were not frogs because toads have bumps on their skin and most frogs have smooth skin. My cat, Sebastian even found an American Toad under our deck. I immediately thought something was wrong with the toad (see photo below), since it had some brown slime coming from it’s mouth!
I later learned that toads have the ability to secrete a poisonous slim when they are scared. This toad also puffed itself up to look bigger. This is another part of their defense strategies.
American toads also have special glands, called paratoid glands, which look like bumps on their head. These glands produce a foul-smelling, toxic chemical. This is another defense mechanism that keeps predators from trying to eat it.
Toads start their life in the water and then spend the rest of their lives on land. Toads change from a tadpole to a toad. Some species can do this in only 12 days while others need a full year. When a young toad grows, it’s skin does not grow, so it needs to shed its skin. Ever wonder why no one has brought in a toad skin for show and tell? Toads actually eat their old skin!
Toads also like to bury into the dirt during the hottest parts of the day or for protection. They can dig backwards with their hind legs. Imagine my surprise to dig up this little toad in my flower garden. The dirt was moving and then a Bufo Americanus Toad hopped into the woods. It is very well camouflaged in this picture. Can you find it?