Nature around the Johnson House

by Catherine Johnson and Sue Ann Kendall

Today, Cathy is sharing some of the wildlife she’s found around her home outside of Rockdale. That moth is amazing, isn’t it? We hope you enjoy this photo essay!

From top left, clockwise: Gulf Coast Toad and toad house, black witch moth (I think), wolf spider, milk snails, leopard frog.

Toad Abodes and Frog Fun

by Pamela Neeley and Sue Ann Kendall

Last week, Sue Ann got all excited when she spotted a Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus) in her little pond at her ranch. She also saw 14 bullfrogs and a Gulf Coast toad, and wrote a blog post about it. When she mentioned the leopard frog at our July Chapter Meeting, lots of members chimed in that they’d been seeing them in large numbers this year.

Toad in the water, frog well camouflaged on the shore.

This morning, Pamela went out into her garden and found a truly magnificent leopard frog specimen. We agreed that this had to be shared.

Hello! How do you like my eye stripe?

The stripes and the way they got through the toad’s eyes are so interesting, and the color is almost glowing! Pamela measured its belly print at over three inches. That’s a big one.

Look at those long legs! You can tell it’s a true frog.

Pamela mentioned that she has more than one toad house on her property, which some of the frogs apparently use, too. Here’s the really pretty one.

Any toad would appreciate such a fine home.

But the plain ones work just fine, too, as long as you leave the bottom open, so their bellies can rest on the dirt.

Perfectly adequate toad home.
Now you can see its pretty white belly.

Making a toad abode is easy and fun. Here’s a great page Pamela found, from the Houston Arboretum Nature Center on how to make toad abodes of many charming styles, along with a lot more information about them. Don’t forget, they will need a source of water!

What kinds of toads and frogs do you have where you live?

Big Toad Little Toad

By Sue Ann Kendall

Ever since learning all about Houston toads last week, I’ve been wanting to find the toad currently hanging around our house in the Walker’s Creek community outside of Cameron. I was especially curious, because that toad has some BIG poop.

Yesterday, my niece sent me five pictures. It was a toad! I was already on my way home, so I got all excited. Must be a Master Naturalist thing.

When I got to the house, Kathleen showed me our new neighbor. She is one big mama Gulf Coast toad. She can’t be a dude toad, too big. She just hung around in the grass, and no dog was dumb enough to mess with her. (I have a feeling there are more toads by the house, judging by the nightly croaking.)

Very large toad. I didn’t pick her up for more ID, because I wanted her to continue to feel safe.

Later that evening, I was walking by the garage, which is near a little pond, when I saw something move. It was a fresh young toadlet!

Tiny toad up close.

This little fella is the opposite of Big Mama! As you can see, it’s smaller than a June bug.

Toad versus bug

I’m happy some of the pond tadpoles made it out and are heading for the big-filled world around our house and woods.