July 30, 2010


Yesterday the neighbor brought over a toad he had found in his garage.  We have an unspoken sort of agreement that whenever we find an interesting creature, we show each other's kids.

We learned a few things about toads yesterday.

1.  They are very hard to identify.  We tried several different internet sites and looked at a ton of pictures.  But within each species they differ greatly in the coloring and warts.  We think he is a Texas Toad.  Maybe.

2.  To tell if a toad is male or female, gently turn it over onto its back.  A female will squirm around.  A male will squirm around and make all sorts of squeaking noises.  We had a male.

3.  Toads really do pee when you pick them up.  They do this for two reasons, both defensive.  First, by eliminating some of their water weight, they can jump farther.  Second, their urine is acidic so if a dog or other predator had the toad in its mouth, the toad would pee and the predator would spit them out.

4.  It is hilariously funny to anyone under the age of 12 to see a toad pee on an adult.  And they pee A LOT.  The toad probably lost half his body size by the time he was done peeing all over the neighbor.

You can find more information about toads in the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock, pages 170 to 177.  Also, the Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book 4 has information from pages 159 to 166.

Here are some picture books which would be perfect for a study on toads.

Toad by the Road: A Year in the Life of These Amazing Amphibians - Joanne Ryder
Frogs, Toads and Turtles (Take-Along Guide) - Diane Burns
Frogs and Toads - Bobbie Kalman
What's the Difference Between a Frog and a Toad? - Mary Firestone
Adventures of Old Mr. Toad - Thornton Burgess

All About Amphibians - Animal Life for Children series by Schlessinger Media
Amphibians - Animal Life in Action by Schelssinger Media
Amphibians - Bill Nye

image of Texas toad taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Toad


  1. Great post. I love the Handbook of Nature Study book you quoted. Of course because you told I should read the book and it was a good one! : )

  2. That is great! I remember getting peed on by frogs/toads when I was a kid. I hadn't realized they lost so much size during that process.

  3. I was immensely fascinated by this. I loved catching toads when I was younger; and I never realized why some made such noise while others did not.

    I, too, love the Handbook of Nature Study. I think it is probably my favorite "nature-study" book.

    Thank you for sharing this!