Honey, I've Shrunk The Kids
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|This cute little critter crossed my path while I sat fishing one day this summer. As it moved across the bare patch of earth in front of me I thought it was a bug of some sort; it was not much bigger than a large grain of rice. Then it hopped once or twice and, intrigued, I got down for a closer look. Imagine my surprise to see a tiny amphibian. By the time I got the camera out of the case he/she had made it to the relative safety of the grass. I fired off a couple of shots and watched until it disappeared into the undergrowth. |
Yesterday was the first time that I had a chance to sort through the images and do a bit of editing. Poor little thing is so small even the grass is like a jungle, and that made me think of the old movie 'Honey, I Shrunk The Kids'.
I've had a look in my field guides and I think this is a Common Toad - Bufo bufo. I could be wrong, though, so if anyone knows for certain, let me know, please.
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The Common Toad (Bufo bufo) or European Toad is widespread throughout Europe, with the exception of Ireland and some Mediterranean islands. Its easterly range extends to Irkutsk in Siberia and its southerly range includes parts of northwestern Africa in the northern mountains of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.
Adults can grow to 18 cm (7 in) and their skin has a warty appearance and ranges from green to brown. As a defense against predators they secrete a toxic, foul tasting substance called bufagin. This is enough to deter many predators although Grass Snakes and hedgehogs are immune. Although the adults spend most of their time on land the females enter ponds and other still waters to lay their eggs, toadspawn, which can be distinguished from the spawn of the common frog as it forms strings rather than a large mass of eggs. Eggs are laid in the spring, with the females attempting to return to the water in which they were born. The young tadpoles resemble other tadpoles in their appearance except that toadpoles have a larger, rounder blacker head and shorter tail.
Common Toads eat invertebrates such as insects, larvae, spiders, slugs and worms, which they catch on their sticky tongues. Larger toads may also take slow worms, small grass snakes and harvest mice, which are swallowed alive. Toads generally hunt at night, and are most active in wet weather.
In Germany, Great Britain and Poland many toads are killed on the roads while migrating to their breeding grounds, in some places special tunnels have been constructed so they can cross under roads and local wildlife groups run toad patrols carrying them across busy crossing points in buckets.
jaycee, Alex99 has marked this note useful
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- [2007-10-04 10:12]
the only other creature it could be is a Natterjack Toad but it doesn't have the distinctive yellow line down its back which defines it is a Common Toad :)
+++ Great sharpness and good detail. Good POV enhancing its cuteness ;)
--- Nothing :)
- [2007-10-04 12:52]
Excellent title for this little creature who looks lost in the leaves. I'm surprised you spotted him. Good colors and details - his eye is clearly visible. Very cute shot.
Great shot of this cute liitle toad, I too am surprised you spotted it. Good composition,
- [2007-10-27 7:43]
Really little but very cute creature. I like excellent sharpness of the entire image, attractive diagonal structure of the shot, effective lighting and vivid colours. Well done and TFS.