I am happier, and usually saner, with the advent of spring and the end of winter than I am with the death of summer and fall. Certain birds finding their way to my feeders that weren’t there a few weeks ago, the finches and mourning doves, the return of my Redtail Hawks. They came early this year. The deer eating my privet, not eating enough privet, certain flowers blooming at certain times and my toad.
I first wrote about “The Toad in the Corner” a year or two ago, a huge American toad that has appeared outside my back door for years. I found it comforting to see her having backed herself into a shady spot at the corner of my foundation and rock wall during the heat of the day. Coming out to wreak havoc on the insect population at night, sitting on a flat rock, all fat and sassy. Unconcerned about my entrance into her realm.
Despite her ambivalence toward me, I worry about her. The average lifespan for a toad in the wild is about a year. She’s been extremely lucky for some five seasons now, somehow avoiding Mr. Herbert No-Shoulders, the huge black rat snake that resides in the same area along with Mrs. No-shoulders and her brood…maybe Toady has just gotten too big to eat. She is uuuuuuuge!
I found her waiting for me early this morning while I waited for my fifteen-year-old puppy dog to find her spot. Toady was sitting on her flat rock, but she wasn’t alone. She had a friend, a friend with benefits I might guess.
At first glance, I thought something was wrong. She looked deformed. Was it that bad a winter? I looked closer and saw what I thought was a deformity was a much smaller toad riding high on her back. I was reminded of a baby riding on one of his parent’s backs.
I don’t think she was his momma…or maybe she was his “Hot Momma.” I’ve seen her several times during the day and her suiter is still riding on her back. She walks, he rides. Mentally I make a note to look up the range of an American toad…as far as a mile from their breeding sites. Now I’m Googling their breeding habits.
You can tell this quarantine thing is getting to me. Combined with sciatica, rainy weather and a sick tractor, I’ve got too much time on my hands…and there is laziness too.
Through research, I found out it is not unusual for the female to carry her suitor to her breeding grounds…the breeding pool of water which I assume is the stream below my home. For some reason, I thought about frog gigolos, “Hey baby, goin’ my way? How ‘bout a lift. What’s your sign? Can I buy you a drink?” Louis Prima is singing “Just a Gigolo” in my head. I guess it could be the David Lee Roth version. I’m thinking of disco, glitter balls and lime-green leisure suits, colorful, long collared “catch me, f@#$ me” shirts and gold bling.
I found out if females are scarce it is not unusual for many waiting males to climb on board creating a “toad ball.” The orgy scene from Caligula flashed briefly before my eyes…I only read about it…maybe. I really wanted to laugh but as I read on, I found it is usually fatal for the female. “I love you to death” takes on a new meaning.
I obviously need more humor injected into my life and something productive to do. Something is very wrong contemplating the sex life of toads and frogs or as we say here, toad frogs. Well, it is spring when a “young man’s fancy turns to love” or a young toad’s fancy is to ride around on a big ole’ momma toad waiting for her to make the trek to her egg-laying site. I just hope she survives her “La danse de l’amour.” French is such a sexy language…even when describing toads.
Don Miller writes about whatever strikes his fancy. His author’ page is https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM?fbclid=IwAR0Tk_BUmCRpeCR63Kr59dyLywOMUia36e7djQlIDqefkK6aKUYyW9svuK4
The featured and last images are from https://www.ephotozine.com/photo/toad–mating–ball–53338916
The first image is of Toady and her suitor.