Thursday, February 28, 2013

On the Road Again...Ambling Amphibians

A quick trip to Grandma and Grandpa's Tuesday night over rain-drenched roadways was accompanied by the late winter soundtrack of the spring peeper. As the temps dipped into the lower fifties (F), their song slowed a bit, but Hunter did spot this little guy on the move around 8 p.m.

Looks like the spring peepers aren't the only amphibians in the chorus tonight. This toad was also on the move, most likely hoping to bump into another like-minded bufo on this late winter's eve.

NC is home to three large toad species, and this particular stretch of road in the Sandhills is practically on the line between the ranges of the southern and American toad populations. Most likely this is a southern toad, and we wish it success on its quest for a mate, because Carolina's toads consume vast quantities of insects each year.

On the trip home, temps had fallen still further, and Hunter spotted very few amphibians on the move. The lone exception was this cool character, still sporting a coat of mud from its burrowing. This eastern spadefoot toad is in a different family than NC's true toads, and has much smoother skin that they.

These gifted diggers have a special spade-like projection on their hind feet for better burrowing, and they emerge on only a few rainy nights each spring to mate. As the weather warms up a bit more, we'll keep our eyes and ears open for more amphibians on the move...

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