Showing posts with label Toads. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Toads. Show all posts


Is It a TOAD or a FROG?

English: A young Bufo marinus (Cane Toad). Dar...
A young Bufo marinus (Cane Toad). Darwin, Northern Territory (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is common for a toad to be mistaken for a frog or a frog to be mistaken for a toad. Both are, in fact, amphibians and they have similar body shapes to the untrained eye. The reality is that toads are different from frogs. Unlike most frogs, toads have dry skin, they have warts, they have crests behind their eyes and they have parotoid glands. A poisonous secretion is produced in their parotoid glands called bufotoxin. Bufotoxin can cause death in smaller animals and may trigger an allergic reaction in humans and other animals. Toads secrete bufotoxin to defend against predators, so you should avoid contact when possible.

Toads come in a variety sizes; the smallest being the Oak toad or Bufo quercicus that only reach a length of 1.3 inches, and the largest being the Cane toad that can grow up to nine inches in length. The Oak toad resides in North America while its relative the Cane toad lives in Australia.

A toad's diet and lifespan can vary as much as their size. Toads mostly eat a diet of insects and other arthropods but there are some species that feast on reptiles, small mammals and other amphibians. One species of toad, the Bufo bufo or Common toad can live up to forty years but most species only live a modest five to ten years.

Toads can be found on every continent except for Antarctica. Regardless of where they live they generally seek out the moist, open habitats of grasslands and fields. For those of you that enjoy gardening, a toad in the garden should be welcomed from a distance as they will eat harmful insects out of your garden.

Like frogs, male toads use a unique call to attract females for mating or to warn off would be male trespassers into their territory. After a successful mating, the female lays fertilized eggs that eventually hatch into tadpoles, which is also the beginning of a metamorphosis from tadpole to toad. Unlike their parents, tadpoles can breathe underwater through specialized gills and they have tails to swim with instead of legs. The tail becomes smaller over time until it disappears completely while at the same time it begins to grow legs and lose its gills and develop lungs. Although not all toads have a tadpole stage, they all need clean, unpolluted water to reproduce.

During the winter, some species of toad hibernate. They do this by burrowing deep into the soil, just below the frost line. When the weather warms up they emerge to resume their toad-like activities as if waking from a good nights sleep.

Really there isn't too much difference between most species of toad and most species of frog. The real difference is between terrestrial toads and aquatic frogs. Aquatic frogs have long, strong muscular back legs utilized for propelling through the water and leaping from the shoreline into the safety of a nearby pool. Toads back legs are designed for short hops and meandering walks.



English: Colorado River Toad, Incilius alvariu...
Colorado River Toad, Incilius alvarius, Syn.: Bufo alvarius (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Bufo Alvarius toad can live for quite a long time in captivity. The Sonoran Desert toad, in general, lives for five to fifteen years, but one toad lived to 36, although it was not a Bufo Alvarius. But if you have gone to all the trouble of searching the Sonoran Desert to find them, or have purchased either a single or a pair of Bufo Alvarius toads from a reputable source, such as Bouncing Bear Botanicals, you will surely want to give it or them proper care so they will live a long time and give you many years of pleasure.

The first care tip is handling. You should handle your toad as little as possible, and, especially if you have other pets in your home, always wash your hands both prior to and subsequent to touching your toad. This is because the skin of an amphibian is permeable, which is to say it is porous, and any toxic substances on your hands may easily be absorbed into their bloodstream. The reason why you should always wash your hands after touching the toad is that of the venom glands located on their head and legs. The toad venom has a milky appearance, and it may be sufficiently toxic to kill a small cat or dog. It can also cause serious irritation to eyes and nose, so make sure never to touch your face until after your hands have been cleaned following toad handling.

Toads are sensitive to light, sound, and vibrations, so their housing should be kept in a quiet place where there is not a lot of noise and goings-on. Never put their aquarium on top of a stereo speaker or TV set, or even near them, because the vibrations are not good for them. Toads are nocturnal animals. They rest in the daytime and come out at night, so the place where you house your Bufo Alvarius toad should not be too brightly lit.

Probably the best place to keep your toads would be in an aquarium of a twenty-gallon size or larger. These toads are very large and they are excellent at jumping, so make sure their aquarium has a cover that fits snugly. During the day, they like to burrow into the ground to conceal themselves, so the aquarium should have a floor made not with soil but with chunks of bark, smooth stones that are too big for them to swallow, peat moss or sphagnum moss that has been dried. These are cold-blooded animals, which means their body temperature comes from their environment, so keep your Bufo Alvarius in a place where the temperature ranges from 24° to 27° C or 75° to 80° F. Their living space should not be wet, but they do need a bowl of non-chlorinated water. They don't drink the water, but they immerse themselves in it, absorbing it through their skin.

Feeding your pet toad should not be too problematic if you live in an area where there are lots of insects such as crickets, or at least a pet shop that sells them. In the wild, they eat anything from small rodents and fish to bees, wasps, and scorpions. These Colorado River toads even eat smaller frogs and toads.

If you keep your toad's accommodations clean and comfortable and take proper steps to look after them, you should be able to enjoy the company of your Bufo Alvarius for many years.


Pet TOAD Care

English: Front view of Eastern American Toad. ...
Front view of Eastern American Toad. Photographed in Berks County, Pennsylvania
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There is perhaps no other creature that has been so mythologized, feared, and misunderstood as the toad. Indeed, the toad has long been associated with black magic, poison, and death. At the same time, however, toads have been considered symbols of fertility, love, and health by alchemists, gypsies, and all manner of ancient peoples. In a more modern context, toads have enjoyed increasing popularity as easy-to-keep, unique pets. With options ranging from the garden-variety American toad to the more exotic Oriental fire-bellied toad, keeping a pet toad can be an education unto itself, provided you learn the following valuable pet toad care pointers first!

While your methods of toad pet care will depend largely upon the individual needs of the species you choose as a companion, there a few basic "rules" that should be heeded. The first rule as that most toads doesn't take kindly to being held or touched. While there is no truth to the old wives' tale that says touching a toad will cause warts, it is true that toads will secrete a toxic, defensive substance from their skin when they feel threatened. To that end, you should always wash your hands if you must touch your pet toad, but you should also keep in mind that the reason your toad feels threatened in the first place is that you're many, many times larger than it is! Toads are not wired to respond to affection like a cat or dog, therefore, they are best enjoyed happily dwelling in an enclosure that resembles their natural habitat as closely as possible-an appropriately appointed living space.

Your pet toad care success depends largely upon selecting a secure, adaptable home for your toad. Aquariums are always best, whether your toad is a land-dweller or a water lover as they allow for maximum viewing potential while keeping your toad safe from harm. Outfit your aquarium with a snug-fitting mesh top that will provide adequate ventilation, and ensure that your toad has enough room to hop and swim about. A good rule of thumb is that a single medium-sized toad should be given at least ten gallons worth of aquarium. 

Nearly all toads enjoy water to some extent-some pretty much live in it, climbing out only occasionally to rest, feed, or breathe while others spend most of their time grubbing around on land, entering the water only to drink or have a little swim. Once you've learned your toad's species-specific preferences, you can devote your time to building a realistic habitat. For instance, if your toad is a native to wet forests, give him lots of leaf cover, moss, and a few lush, live plants to enjoy. If your toad is a prairie dweller, he'll need flat rocks, a stand of tall grass, and a small pool to lounge in.

As you consider your pet toad care checklist, keep in mind that you'll have to account for your toad's dietary needs, even if you're squeamish about things like insects and worms. Most toads sold in the pet store will enjoy a steady diet of crickets, provided the crickets are dusted occasionally with a vitamin-rich powder (also available at pet stores). Toads may also enjoy earthworms or wax worms. Some toads have considerably more exotic dietary needs and may need to be fed mice or goldfish to maintain their health and happiness, so always take care to consult a reputable book or salesperson before bringing your new toad home.

While owning a toad may not be for everyone, learning the ins and outs of pet toad care can make for a rewarding, unique, and perhaps even magical pet ownership experience for those who are up to the task. As you learn more and more about the varying needs, habitats, and mythologies behind these fascinating creatures, you'll soon be ready for a toad of your very own. Educate yourself well and head to the pet store. You may just return home with a new best friend.


How to Fight the Winter Blues by Raising and Keeping a TOAD As a Pet

English: Front view of Eastern American Toad. ...
Front view of Eastern American Toad. Photographed in Berks County, Pennsylvania
(Photo credit: 
Why do so many people dislike toads? I think it's that old misconception that if you touch one, you will get warts. I mean who wants a wart, I don't know anyone that wants one. I have loved toads since I was a child, maybe because we are both outcasts in society, I am not sure. All I know is that I would rather have a toad around me most of the time, then I would a person. At least you can understand a toad and trust them, where a human can turn on you in a second. Also, maybe it's my feelings of why do so many dislike the poor toads, just because they are toads.

Think about witches casting a spell on someone, what do they often turn a person into, a toad. They are not the prettiest of all the creatures for sure, all bumpy and warty, and to call someone a toad is not meant to be anything nice, but whenever I am called a toad, I feel as happy as can be, and take it as a compliment.

So you're interested in having a toad as a pet, and I think you have made a great choice. Everyone has cats, dogs, fish and some people even have mice, gerbils, and birds as pets, but who do you know that has a pet toad? Now, some toads are poisonous to people and other animals, so I am talking about the common American Toad, in this article, and his scientific name is; 'Bufo americanus.' Before you find yourself a toad, the first thing you will need is a home for him or her. A 10-gallon aquarium that is not being used for fish, makes a perfect dwelling place for your toad to live. Make sure you have a secured, screen lid, or your toad may hop out and escape.

The first thing you will need is the ground cover or stuff for your toad to dig in when it wishes to do so. One of the best bedding or ground cover you can fill a couple inches of the bottom of the aquarium with is called; ' Eco Earth '. It is made from coconut fiber, and it makes a perfect bedding for your toad to dig into and hop around on. Also when the toad urinates and poops, the Eco Earth absorbs and destroys odor and waste products. Although toads don't live in water like frogs mostly do, toads do love water. Your toad will need a water dish that he can climb into and sit if he feels dry, and he will also drink out of this container, just make sure your water dish is not so deep that the toad can fall in and not get out, or he will drown, and you will end up with a pet ghost toad. Some pet stores and places online have water dishes that have both a shallow and deep end, which is perfect for your toad.

You do not really need a separate dish for your toad's food unless you want to place one in its home. Your toad can eat any live insects such as house flies, small crickets, and grasshoppers, some people even like dropping a live worm or mealworms in the aquarium for their toad. You will need a supply of live insects or worms through the cold, winter season, and most live fish bait shops and pet shops have all the insects and worms you need.

Your toad will like a little place to hide in where he can comfortably seek shelter, or sit in silence while he meditates or takes a nap. Some great shelters are made by using a piece of a log that's been hollowed out and turned over, which resembles a cave. Also, you can even use a ceramic flower pot that is turned over, with a hole or piece knocked out of it, for your toad to enter easily. Again, if you cannot make a shelter for your toad, you can purchase them at pet stores and online. You can decorate your toads home with some plastic plants, or even some real ones, and add a couple nice size rocks for him to climb and set on if he wishes. In other words, make your toads home, as close as you can to resemble the natural world where he would live.

Now to find yourself a toad to use a pet, get a smaller size one, not one of the little babies that you often see, but a medium-sized toad. You want one that's big enough to eat the live insects and other things that you will feed it. One of the easiest methods to find a toad, is right after a rainstorm, go outside at night, with a flashlight and walk around near the house. Toads also love to hang around the front door at night, or someplace where there is a light, that attracts insects. Raising a toad as a pet can give you such great joy, you will wonder why you didn't have one year before, anyway it will give you something to do during the long, cold winter months, and it will help you to fight the winter blues.


Why Would Anyone Lick a BUFO ALVARIUS TOAD?

If you have ever heard of the Psychedelic Toad or about people licking toads to get high, it is most likely they were talking about Bufo Alvarius. Also called the Sonoran Desert toad and the Colorado River toad, Bufo Alvarius is unique because of its venom. These large toads have glands that produce a milky white venom that is composed of as much as fifteen percent the alkaloid 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MEO-DMT). This is a powerful hallucinogen, the mind altering effects of which were discovered in the late 1950s. 5-MEO-DMT is the active ingredient of hallucinogens used traditionally by several South American tribes.

Sonoran Desert Toad (Bufo alvarius)
Sonoran Desert Toad (Bufo alvarius) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The fact that a toad secretes a substance that can alter the human mind may lead to speculation about the "Frog Prince" fairy tale. In this folk legend, a woman finds a frog in the wild, kisses it, and it turns into a handsome prince. Could this ancient tale actually be based on fact? After all, if someone were to lick not a frog but the right kind of a toad, perhaps she might experience hallucinations that made her imagine the amphibian was transforming into a handsome prince. This theory is merely speculation, of course. In reality, licking the venom of toads or any other animal may be highly dangerous and is certainly not recommended.

Albert Most, the author of "Bufo Alvarius: The Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert" does not discuss the licking of toad venom in his text. Rather, his information involves drying and then smoking the toad venom in order to achieve what he calls "almost overwhelming psychedelic effects." These effects are evidently not unlike those generated by LSD, in which hallucinations, visual illusions and distortions of the perception occur. The episode is relatively short, however, perhaps as little as fifteen minutes, after which, Most writes, "There is no hangover or harmful effect."

It has been reported that Bufo Alvarius toads have been an element in the rituals of native shamans for hundreds of years. Returning to ancient European folklore, witches are often associated with toads. Toads supposedly give warts to people, and witches were frequently portrayed with large warts. In our more enlightened age, it is now known that so-called witches were more like wise women, possessing useful knowledge about medicinal herbs and plants. Could it be that these wise women were also aware of the powerful effects of toad venom?

Literature published by the California State Department of Fish and Game states that the problem of people trying to become intoxicated from licking the skin of toads or smoking dried toad venom is sufficiently extensive that laws against toad licking have been passed by some states, and that toad venom is currently classified as a controlled substance.

    By Robert Scheer
    Robert Scheer is a freelance journalist and consultant for the  Bufo Alvarius Report web site [].

    Article Source: EzineArticles