Fowler’s Toad: He Chose Our Pond

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One night In May, I noticed a very loud sound from right outside our window. My husband, Dwight, has a fish pond right outside our kitchen door.

The fish pond is used by our outdoor cat for drinking water. Notice the toads in the lower left corner.

The fish pond is used by our outdoor cat for drinking water.



The sound was loud! So, on May 26, I whipped out my iphone and taped the noise.
You’ll hear the noise at 7 seconds into the tape, and 12 seconds, 18 seconds and 23 seconds. The sounds came from a small frog or toad. After comparing my recording to recordings of frogs/toads of Arkansas, I concluded we had a Fowler Toad, which is common in this area.

After reading more, I realized that this toad had chosen our pond as a breeding pond. He chose us! He chose our pond!

As a child, I remember we raised tadpoles once. I was excited about the chance to watch the process again, especially because my grandkids could watch this time.

The toad sang and sang for several nights. All night long, it seemed.

Then, on June 11, I took a morning walk and came back to find two Fowler toads in the pond. The girl showed up!

Fowler Toad with Egg String


Fowler Toads mate in what’s called amplexus, which means the eggs are externally fertilized. The smaller male is usually on the female’s back for the duration.

Another view of the couple.

Another view of the couple.



After the mating, the female is trying to find a way out of the slippery sides of the pond. I had to put a fish net on the edge for her to get out. The male hopped out easily.

After the mating, the female is trying to find a way out of the slippery sides of the pond. I had to put a fish net on the edge for her to get out. The male hopped out easily.


Tadpoles: Day 3

We watched the pond every day and on Day 3, we found tadpoles! Dozens and dozens. Scientists report that the Fowler Toads may lay 5000-25,000 eggs at a time. But the pond had several goldfish and I knew that many of the eggs would be eaten before they could hatch.

Now, there are dozens and dozens of tadpoles.

Dozens of tadpoles hatched. However, they are shy and don't like to be photographed.

Dozens of tadpoles hatched. However, they are shy and don’t like to be photographed.


Close-up of the tadpole.

Close-up of the tadpole.



The Flamingo's eye view of the pond and the toads.

The Flamingo’s eye view of the pond and the toads.



As a person who writes science and nature books for kids, I am always conscious of the possibilities. But this isn’t a book, and may never become one. The story is too common; it’s not ground-breaking science. It’s just fun. And that’s enough.

4 Comments
  • RDinTN
    June 15, 2015

    “You’re gonna need a bigger boat!” LOL

  • Darcy Pattison
    June 16, 2015

    Linda:
    And part of the fun is sharing it. I know the professor who wrote the book on Arkansas Herpetology and he enjoyed the post, too.

    Darcy

  • SueBE
    June 18, 2015

    Let’s just say that that toad call brought my son running to check on me. “What are you screaming about woman?!” It was really pretty hilarious.

  • Darcy Pattison
    June 19, 2015

    That makes ME laugh! So funny.

    Darcy