The Eastern American Toad
Earlier this spring I came across this brute on my property. Ok, *I* didn’t necessarily spot her first, the dogs did. And even they didn’t know what to make of her. She reminds me of the bulldog of the amphibian world with that stance she takes and that not-enthused-bring-it look on her face.
Amphibian skin is permeable, which allows them to absorb water and oxygen (also owing to why they are so sensitive to pollutants in the environment). At the same token, it is really easy for them to lose water if the environment is too dry, which is why they usually have to stay in fairly moist areas. In the picture above, you can see little bubbles on her front leg. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on there, but my guess is that is has to do with oxygen exchange.
Something I learned while watching her — they can close one eyelid at a time and keep the other eye open. Yeah, that’s right…she winked at me. The raised area behind the eyes that look like kidney beans are their paratoid glands, which produce bufotoxins, a bad tasting secretion that acts as a defense against predators.
After her photo shoot, she happily hopped back into a crevice under the stone wall.