Nature Strollers

The mission of the Nature Strollers is to support parents and grandparents in their role as primary interpreters of nature for their families; to provide opportunities for families to enjoy unstructured time outdoors; to familiarize families with local trails, refuges, sanctuaries and preserves; and to develop networks among families with a common interest in nature.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Twenty Toads A-Trilling

Our Monday Strollers trip leaders reported not twenty but over one hundred American toads active in the ponds! The high temperatures has served to inspire an early breeding season. The first males heard trilling were sounding off a month earlier than last year! The main contingent of toads made it to the pond sixteen days earlier than last year! The photo above is of a couple in amplexus. You can see the necklace-like strings of toad eggs which will result in hundreds of tapoles per couple! Luckily for them, they leave the little guys on their own, no need to parent a hundred babies at time.

Here are some of the miles and miles of toad eggs found in the pond. As the eggs age and the embryos develop, the outer jelly-like coating clouds up. Soon it will disintegrate and the small black tadpoles will be free to swim about and find food.

This male is trilling, hoping to attract a female. American toads are among my favorite creatures for teaching children about the natural world. They call and lay eggs within inches of the shore, and are not startled by the approach of little feet. The Strollers and their kids are able to watch them sing, breed, and lay eggs close up. Then we can track the growth of the tadpoles on each subsequent trip. I must say that American toads are the mascots of the Nature Strollers, a perennial favorite, a wonderful sign of spring, and an auditory and visual treat.


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