This is the Spadefoot Toad who resides at one of our ponds.
This Spadefoot Toad was noticed in one of our fabricated ponds at the end of May 2014. We just installed two 100 gallon prefabricated ponds at our established natural ponds to save on water. The natural established ponds being larger then the prefab ponds it helps with the water issues we have here on the high desert of Oregon.
Guy noticed first there was something in this pond that I really need to check out. These are some of the photographs I got. Noticing the toad was not real fond of the birds who were showing up for drinks I thought that was interesting behavior since the birds are bigger, though not amphibian eaters. The Pacific Tree Frogs who have been long residences here just go the other direction of the birds, they do not challenge the birds.
Yes this little one even wanted to know what I was as you can see in the photography.
I have made it no secrete I like frogs. Well, lets be real here - I like anything that crawls, jumps, slithers,flies in the sky. Barks, croaks, screams and yells. I am good with animals , always have been and well more then likely always will be. I also like to have natural habitat around me as best as I can make it natural. Come to find out critters like this as well.
Also making some not to easy choices about our small piece of land here in the high desert. Hence the choice to put in the prefabricated ponds took a while. What would it do to my habitat we created?? Would the birds still feel comfortable bathing, drinking, showing up at our ponds? Would the creatures still feel comfortable laying eggs in the ponds??
Well, all these fears I had seam to be pointless. The birds still show up, bringing there young. The frogs still show up laying their eggs. I do notice one thing we still need to do..... place wire mesh around the inside of the prefab. ponds for the creatures to use if they find themselves in these prefabricated ponds. I keep my eye out for critters not being able to get out of the ponds, but I can not be everywhere at one time!
This is what happened to this Spadefoot Toad. Got stuck in the prefabricated ponds Guy installed. The toad was unable to get out of the pond. There is only one spot the Spadefoot Toad could have gotten out and the poor thing just could not find that spot! After I took these photographs, I placed a stick at the low spot so this Spadefoot Toad could get out all on it's own without me having to touch, or pick the Spadefoot Toad up.
Mind you many of the creatures I photograph I just assume not handle them. Our hands are not as good for some creatures as we think they are. Then the stress issues of these creatures. A teacher way back in high school made a comment about the mice I was doing a behaverial study on in passing. Did not say much but brought up the stress issue of me and the other kids handling one of my mice. I chewed on what this natural science teacher said and it has stuck with me, making loads of sense to me! AND you think this observing critters is a new thing to me *grin. I have done this since .... forever! Just natural curiosity some of us are born with.
Some of these photographs are for identification purposes only, however I thought you might like to see the series of photographs I sent to the state of Oregon since I was having no luck researching this critter myself!
Since I did not get permission to quote this persons email, and I feel rather funny about the permission issue as some folks who keep up with my photography and observations know, I am one for permission! I will put one part of the email that helped me SO much!!
"These are very interesting amphibians, and one of few that are well adapted to desert life. Adults typically spend most of summers underground. They typically emerge in heavier rains, lay eggs in temporary pools and are likely to do better in non permanent ponds that lack fish. These toads seem to have become relatively rare in parts of Oregon, so its a nice find to locate a breeding population."
Reading this put my ideas for KOI to rest. I was wondering if that idea would be detrimental to my frog population. We do get the occasional snake here. Everyone knows of my work with reptiles. If not the videos are on the about me page . A part of my past life. These common snakes that show up to eat my frogs are captured, placed in a pillow case and relocated miles from my frogs! Little buggers like to bite and most commonly like to defecate on me. Little stinkers!! Take that literally too! If one does not relocate these garden , common snakes they just make their way back to our property!! Which if one thinks about it, this finding their way back is pretty impressive.....
Guy and I did talk about the toads/frogs here in the high desert that dig in the ground and hide there. Guy had started his own population years before we met and while he had some acreage elsewhere here on the High Desert. Saying this is how he started his population years ago. Guy found many in a hole and just put them at his pond. As we were talking, the 1970's is not the world we live in today. Today amphibians are having a hard time surviving in this world of HUGE homes, landscaped yards, and unnatural lined swimming pools with chemical laced water not only in the swimming pools but used to water everything from the rose gardens, to the veggie gardens. Not to mention the fish such places as Oregon is having shipped in from far off places back east to be placed in our lakes, ponds etc.. for people to catch and show off to their friends. Amphibians can not survive such conditions as we humans have made for ourselves.
I noticed this Spadefoot Toad was under a lot of stress with my attention and the birds coming and going getting their drinks and such. Many folks claim I have SUCKER tattooed on my forehead and maybe I do? I placed a stick at the low place of the pond in which this Spadefoot Toad took full advantage of, climbing up and swimming underneath the rock that circles the natural portion of the pond. I watched until I could no longer see this Spadefoot Toad as it disappeared. No doubt digging itself in?
This shot was the last of the shots I got as it swam away. You can see the feet are adapted for the water...... As I look out the window the rain comes down, stops, comes again, stops. Looks like we might just be in for a storm?
I will keep observing this pond due to the eggs I had noticed there and the big headed tadpoles that were darting up then going back down into the prefab. pond. Who knows, perhaps we will have more of these Spadefoot Toads around the property here soon?