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One of Lifes little wonders, a small toad which is called a “Toadlet”, and it is only 25mm (1ins) in length
This little mite was at the side of the single track road that goes up to Loch Fad, and it was at the same area that I have seen and recorded on camera many birds, animals etc that I have used on “Island Life” and “Birds Eye View of Bute” for a few years now. It is an area teeming with wildlife, and is just midway from the start of the Chapelton Woods, to the junction with The Dhu Loch and Loch Fad. It never ceases to amaze me in what I see here, and I see much more that I can get on camera, but will keep on trying. What I am after I get eventually but it may take years to do so, but don't sit on the edge of your chairs, as you may have a very long wait!
This wee toad waited patiently while I set up the camera and proceeded to take a few shots of it, and getting closer all the time, until I was about 100 mm (4ins) away from it and it never batted an eyelid, and the results as you see were very good. It appears to be walking over very rough ground, but in fact it was a tarmac road that it was on, albeit a well worn tarmac road. The toad was that small that it gave the wrong impression of the terrain that it was walking on, and as I say walking, well that's what they do, unlike the Frog who seem to prefer to hop around.
Toads can live up to the age of forty years which is quite amazing as I never thought that they had a life-span like that, but this one was on borrowed time as it was stationary on a road that at time quiet, then as fishermen come and go, it can be very busy. Well as it was facing in a Westerly direction, I lifted it up and put it over the fence into the Chapelton Woods and into a safe area away from cars and the like, giving it a chance to attain a ripe old age. They only frequent stretches of water during the mating season, then for the rest of the time will stay at dry sites, so I had no problem in putting it into the woods.
I have written about frogs in the past with the emphasis on the “Frogs Spawn”, and how small pools can be chock-a- block with sago like eggs, well the toad has a different approach to this, they lay their eggs in long strings of double-stranded spawn, and sometimes in the same pools as the frogs. I came across one such string that was over two metres (6ft 6ins) in length, unfortunately, it had laid them in a pool that was on a rough road that was on the north end of the island, and had been caused by forestry traffic making hollows on the road and when the rains came the hollows filled with water, and the toad must have thought that this was an ideal spot. That was far from the truth, as when the rains stop, then the pool would dry up and the spawn would be no more. Well to the rescue once more, every bit of that spawn was removed to a nearby pool with frogs spawn for company whether they liked it or not, at least they had another chance to hatch out.
It is good when you come across situations like this and you can help out, but it is not easy with bare hands as the spawn is very slippery, and it took a while to sort it all out. The thing that did the trick was my vacuum flask,I only had to lift the end of the string of spawn and enter it into the flask, then I held my hand under the rest of it, held it up above the water and higher than the entrance to the flask and gravity did the rest, it slid into it nicely and I only had to move along the string slowly until the flask was full, then break it off at that point, then empty the flask into the pond and start again, until it was all transferred.
I do not see many strings of toad spawn these days. Plenty of frogs, but the toads are very thin on the ground, maybe it is just a case of the right place at the right time.
Does anyone want to buy a second hand flask?
First Published in the Buteman 16-09-2005