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May Sounds

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This month you might be lucky to hear an up to 30-second-long, fairly high monotone trill in the wetlands of High Park. Have you ever wondered who makes this distinct sound? It is not a bird and it is not a frog. – It is a male American toad calling out to a female.

American toad by Tina Soldovieri
American toad by Tina Soldovieri

If there are multiple males, they each pick a different trill tone. American toads are rather large, light to dark brown or olive coloured, with bumps on dark spots. And by the way those bumps are not warts! This one was spotted close to the lower Duck pond. American toads hibernate by digging deep into the ground below the frost line. They live mostly on land in forests and back yards but need water to reproduce. Females lay their strings of eggs in High Park’s shallow ponds. Black tadpoles hatch within two weeks from the eggs and turn into little toads (“toadlets”) in the same summer. These toads and their tadpoles have poison glands in their skin that protect them from predators. They absorb water and oxygen through their skin and are – as all amphibians – important indicators for soil and water health

Keep and eye out for American toads on your next visit to High Park!