If you have toads in your yard, be glad -- they’ll help your garden and lawn grow by keeping the insect population down. They may become tame as pets, and depending on the species, they can live up to 35 years in captivity. You won’t get warts from touching their bumpy skin, although you should wash your hands after you do.
Toads Vs. Frogs
Frogs have long back legs that enable them to jump, while toads only hop because of their short hind legs. While frogs and most toads are born in wetlands, frogs remain in and near ponds, streams, swamps, canals or other areas with standing water. Toads also need moisture but can survive far away from permanent wetlands. Some species even live in deserts, where they burrow underground to keep from drying out during arid seasons, emerging during rainstorms to eat and breed.
Don't Mess with Toads
From the time they’re eggs, toads have parotoid glands, which create and release foul-tasting toxins if a predator tries to seize them. While these toxins don’t hurt people, you should wear gloves or wash your hands immediately whenever you handle a toad. Toads also can camouflage themselves, burrow underground, play dead and even puff themselves up, becoming too big for a predator to eat.
In the wild, toads can eat as many as ten thousand insects in a single summer. They have sticky tongues attached at the front of their mouths, and they catch prey -- especially flying insects -- by darting their tongues out and then tossing the food into their mouths. They can also use their front legs to lift bugs to their mouths.Toads have to blink in order to swallow, because this presses their eyes onto their mouths, pushing the food down their throats.
How Toad Babies Are Made
During mating season, toads gather near vernal pools, ponds, creeks, flooded ditches and even rain puddles. Male toads, like frogs, sing or call to attract mates, with each species making its own distinct sounds. After mating, the females leave egg sacs in the water. Depending on the species, one female toad can produce up to 30,000 eggs in her life. Ideally, after the eggs hatch, tadpoles can find food and safety in the water until they metamorphose into adults.
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