It's time for the Friday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

It's time for the Friday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

It's time for the Friday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Yesterday we looked at the adult eastern American toad (Anaxyrus americanus). Today, let's look at the adorable baby version!

After the adult toads mate, the female lays two strings of eggs in a shallow body of water (sometimes even in puddles). Tadpoles hatch from the eggs in 2-14 days, and they're pretty easy to recognize; they have solid black bodies and very skinny tails. The tadpoles tend to stick close together and hide in vegetation to avoid being eaten by predators. They also produce toxic chemicals that discourage predators; a single tadpole is reported to be toxic enough to kill a fish!

After roughly two months, the tadpoles will metamorphose into toadlets like the one in the photo. These toadlets may stay in the water for a short period of time before moving to land, at which point they'll hunt tiny bugs. Sometimes all of the tadpoles will reach the toadlet stage at the same time, at which point they'll migrate en masse to higher ground -- generally shady areas bordering the body of water where they were born.

If all goes well and the toadlets are lucky, they may be fortunate enough to live fairly long lives. In the wild, they may live as long as ten years, although some exceptional toads have reportedly lived as long as 35 years!

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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