Monday, July 20, 2009

It's all fun and games until someone croaks in the toad condo.

On Saturday we all worked in the yard. Hubs mowed and edged. Daughter and I pulled weeds. Well, I pulled weeds and Daughter started pulling weeds until she found a huge toad.

I do mean huge.

"Can we get a container and put dirt in it and just hold him in there for a little while, not even a day?"

"No. Let's leave him alone."

"Can I just find a flower pot and turn it over and put dirt in there so he can get in there if he wants?"

It was clear to my daughter that the toad needed to be rescued and protected from the various snakes we have here in New Mexico. In my opinion, the toad looked quite content resting there in the murky puddle, shaded by the porch.

But what do I know? I'm no toad expert.

"OK. You can make him a toad house with a flower pot. But, you know what he does if you pick him up... and it's not pee... it's some kind of secretion from special glands."

So, maybe I could be a toad expert.

"What is it then? The liquid?"

"I don't know. I'll have to look it up later."

Or maybe I'm not.

Daughter went on a hunt for the perfect pot and found two. One of the pots was pink and one was a nicely painted Terra cotta. (We couldn't tell if the toad was a girl or a boy.) Good hospitality is one of our life's goals, so we provided one home with feminine Shabby Chic and the other one with gender neutral decor so as not to offend.

She worked diligently on the placement of the flower pots, turning them both on their sides, and filling them with dirt to provide a natural habitat and enough weight so the pots wouldn't blow away. You know the old story about the snake slithering up and blowing down the toad's house, right?

After several treks to the garage, the backyard, and in the house, Daughter was satisfied with the two toad home options nestled in the newly weed-free spot of the front flower bed.

And, yes, she did pick up the toad.

He let out a loud CROAK, puffed up his body and I warned, "Put him down. He's freaking out."

Daughter gently put him back down in his puddle, allowing him to find his new toad home options because we don't want to interfere with nature or anything.

We came inside the house, washed our hands, and I got on the Internet, searching for little tidbits on toads. As it turns out, I was right, toads do not pee on you. This is a myth, along with the idea that they can give you warts.

Do you know what that stuff is that the toads secret when you pick them up?

Do you know?

It's poison. According to my Google hunt, toads have special glands which secrete a liquid when they are stressed. In some toads, the liquid is poison. In others, it is harmless. I have no idea whether our toad falls into the icky, harmless group or the dreadful, deadly one.

Because I'm no toad expert.


Ann said...

Hopefully there will be no ill effects to the toad experiment! Amazing what kids will find to do to get out of work, huh??!!

2Thinks said...

I love this post! This is exactly what would have happened over here if one of our kids found a toad- it takes me back. Because that hasn't happened here in a long time, since my boys are grown men and moved out and my daughter is almost 18. BUT she does still appreciate finding a big ole toad and what she does now is- photograph it and put the picture on facebook.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

I can see it all so clearly, like the pots. There is one visual I could do without, though, the secretion. And the fatness of the toad.