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Meet Eastern American Toad

Has your youngster come home with a container of small toads? This time of year, the baby toadlets are moving out of their tadpole stages and into adult stages. As a result, areas near shallow pools and temporary ponds can come alive with thousands of baby toads.

Eastern American Toads have a sort of poisonous look to them but they are nothing to fear. They can't give you warts and they aren't poisonous to humans. A dog or cat who picks one up in their mouth may have some irritation from the skin and we'd advise against putting a toad near your mouth as well.

Eastern toads are responsible for the 30 second long trilling song you hear in May that sounds a lot like crickets. They breed in shallow slow moving or still fresh water and each female can lay two thousand eggs in the water. These eggs hatch into tadpoles which them mature into small toads. If all goes well they can grow quite large in the upper Midwest and they eat a lot of insects! If you have an outdoor light near your home and you go out at night, you might see them there, enjoying a buffet. In the winter they hibernate in loose soil and often under logs or rocks.

Eastern American Toads require some cover and prefer wooded or brushy areas to live and often stay close to where they were born. They are an important food source for snakes, birds and other predators and in turn, they eat insects voraciously. So if you're little one has brought home a baby toad and wishes to keep them, plan to collect a lot of insects to feed them.

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