I bet most of you have seen these really big toads around your house. They will probably be near a faucet or anywhere it’s wet. If you make any noise near them they, peak out at you. They are Gulf Coast Toads.
This one is a female, which can be figured out because she is really big. You can tell the Gulf Coast toad species because of the prominent cranial crests on her head, which you can see in Suna’s photo below.
These toads live from Mississippi in the east down through Mexico. They are common in our gardens, and eat lots of insects. They come out at night to party, so those of you who are out late might see them.
I took a photo of one of their babies last year, I think they are so cute. There were lots and lots of them. [Suna’s roommate in Austin reports there were hundreds of babies in their neighborhood last week; the toads are very common near their creek.]
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.
This morning, Pamela went out into her garden and found a truly magnificent leopard frog specimen. We agreed that this had to be shared.
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.
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.
But the plain ones work just fine, too, as long as you leave the bottom open, so their bellies can rest on the dirt.
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?
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.)
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!
This little fella is the opposite of Big Mama! As you can see, it’s smaller than a June 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.