July 8, 2021
It's time for the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!
This fellow is most likely the eastern American toad (Anaxyrus americanus americanus), and if you leave a porch light on, you've likely seen one or two camped out nearby hunting for delicious bugs. Eastern American toads are one of our most commonly seen amphibians in southwest Virginia.
These toads look quite similar to Anaxyrus fowleri, the Fowler's toad, and it's often difficult to tell them apart. Fowler's toad is generally slightly smaller and it has 3 or more warts inside the dark splotches on its back while the eastern American toad only has one or two. Believe it or not, the easiest way to tell the difference between the two is to spot one while you're driving; Fowler's toad will make a series of short, rapid hops to get off the road, while an eastern American toad will only take a few large hops!
Adult eastern American toads like this one have variable colors and patterns that change depending upon the habitat, humidity level, and temperature, among other factors. Breeding males will produce a high, trilling call that lasts up to 30 seconds, sounding almost like a telephone.
There are only a few things that these toads need in order to thrive: a shallow body of water to breed in, dense vegetation for hunting and cover, and plenty of insects. If those conditions are met, you'll have no shortage of toads! The adults are mostly nocturnal and they become particularly active on rainy evenings.
Now that we've looked at an adult toad, check back tomorrow and we'll look at a juvenile toad! Seriously, don't miss it, it's adorable.
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 (www.cbtcares.com).
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
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!