Posted Apr 24, 2013
I live on an herb farm, on the Maryland-Pennsylvania state line. It’s still a mostly rural area, although many of the cornfields are now grow housing developments. Last spring, while sitting outside late one night, enjoying the cool and peaceful country air, I noticed that some of my flowerpots started to move, apparently by themselves. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that a very large toad had made a home out of one of them that had some cracks and missing pieces. I watched this intriguing creature for a few hours that first night, noticing that he had part of two of his left back toes missing. I didn't think too much about him, watching him all throughout the summer months of last year. I did give him the name of Mr. Toad, because eventually he became part of the evening scenery.
Well, since the warm weather has returned this year, I started sitting outside again, enjoying the return of longer daylight hours. I was pleasantly surprised with I saw Mr. Toad again. I almost forgot about him, wondering how he had survived the winter. It was definitely him, easily identified by those missing back toes.
I discovered some facts about Mr. Toad. He is in fact, an Eastern American Toad. They hibernate during winter months, and can live in the same area for years. He’s kind of funny when he walks. He seems to only come out at night, and while he does hop, he also performs a walking motion, which he does very clumsily, and slowly, through the new grass around my patio.
I have noticed a peculiar behavior he performs, during the nights which still go down to 30º or 40º Fahrenheit, while standing in one place, he seems to dig with his bag legs, a hole. It’s almost as if he is burying himself. I've seen him do this only once, but he was so adept at this, I think he probably does this a lot – very peculiar to see.
There isn't too much to talk about, as Mr. Toad only comes out during the evenings, and even then I don’t see him every night. He’s mostly quiet, but last year I do remember him making this loud shrill sound for a few seconds, signaling his friends I would guess.
I was happy to see him return, I had almost forgotten about him. He makes me think that warmer days will come soon, in spite of recent snow showers and frosts which have damaged my daffodils.