How We Learned About Toads

Almost four years ago, our family took a trip to North Carolina. While we were there, we walked on a nature trail that was literally hopping with cute, wrinkly toads. My husband caught two of them and put them in his pockets. Back at our hotel, we transferred them to the critter keeper. You travel with a critter keeper, don’t you?

We kept the toads alive on the drive home by feeding them bugs, and we naively hoped that they were a male and female, so that we could one day have little tadpoles to love. We named the future parents Lucy and Ricky.

Soon, we bought Ricky and Lucy a beautiful home — a 50-gallon glass tank with a screened roof — which we purchased at a yard sale for five dollars. We sat back to wait for the mating to begin.

Ricky seemed ready: he trilled sweetly, but Lucy was unresponsive. So, we did some research.

We discovered that female toads are significantly larger than males toads. Ricky and Lucy were both small and the same size. We did the only thing we could do. We changed Lucy’s name to Fred and resigned ourselves to life with bachelor toads.

Ricky and Fred are now a family fixture. My husband, our resident habitat designer, has filled their tank with rocks for them to hide under and tree branches for them to sit on. They love to eat crickets, so we buy baby crickets and raise them in a separate habitat, just for the toads to eat. I know this might sound disgusting, but they also like to eat little slugs.

Ricky and Fred lead peaceful lives. It’s amazing to see how long a toad can stay in one position, with nothing moving except its constantly throbbing throat.

Here’s a picture of Ricky, or Fred. The only way to tell them apart is that Fred has a line down his back and Ricky doesn’t. Often, because they hide themselves at least partially, you can’t tell which one you’re seeing.

Ricky (or is it Fred?) Relaxing at Home

Ricky (or is it Fred?) Relaxing at Home

Here’s a picture of their bachelor pad. They favor the rustic, lived-in look.

Ricky and Fred's Habitat

Ricky and Fred's Habitat

We usually don’t see Ricky and Fred out and about at the same time. One of them is usually hiding in the dirt or laying low in the water. Toads don’t drink water. They take it in through their skin, so they need to have pools of water in their habitat. Here’s a picture of one of Ricky and Fred’s water areas.

Ricky and Fred's Indoor Pool

Ricky and Fred's Indoor Pool

I hope you have enjoyed this little peek into the lives of our toads. We’ve read that, when not in the wild, they can live for many years. We certainly hope they do.

Click here to learn more about toads like Ricky and Fred.


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Dana said,

    Love them! We have two Gray Tree Frogs we caught last year and we’re getting ready to make them a new habitat. It is amazing how much you learn about something just from caring for it.

  2. 2

    sunnymama said,

    How cool! We have frogs in our pond and sunnyboy really likes to visit them 🙂

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