The common toad is beneficial to man

Most people are not really very fond of toads. They look pretty ugly, they are covered with warts, and they have a bad name in little children’s stories.
In Northern Ontario, this is the common fat toad of our gardens and farms. It can grow to be almost six inches long, but usually is much smaller than that.
In this case, unusual in the animal world, the female is much larger than the male.
The back of this toad is quite warty, with each wart having a couple of black spots associated with it. At the back of the head are two very large glands. The belly is rough and feels something like vary flexible sandpaper.
The toad we have is the American Toad (Bufo americanus). It is one of those lowly animals which is extremely useful to man.
Its diet consists mainly of insects, and most of the ones it eats are injurious to man’s crops—the potato beetles, cutworms, June beetles, ants, and a host of others.
It also eats grubs, earthworms, spiders, and little toads.
The toad catches its dinner with its tongue. Like frogs, the toad’s tongue is fastened to the front of its mouth.
The toad will approach its prey with great stealth. Suddenly, so fast you can’t even see it, that tongue (up to two inches or so long) flicks out. The sticky stuff on the end brings in the worm or beetle in a fraction of a second.
Are toads poisonous? The answer is yes, to a certain extent. The large warts are really glands which secrete a gummy material. This sticky substance is irritating to sensitive areas, like the mouth or eyes of another animal or a human.
It cannot harm your outer skin.
A pup that grabs a toad will not likely do it again since the pain in his mouth will last for a day or so. A child who picks up a toad, then puts his fingers in his eyes, will find that his eyes sting for quite a little while.
In other parts of the world, there are frogs and toads which are extremely poisonous indeed.
Toads do not have to live near water, but they do need water to mate in and for their young to grow in.
At breeding time, the male grows big pads on his feet for grasping the female. All this grasping is done in a pond, pool, or even a mud puddle.
The female lays her eggs in a long double string while at the same time the male releases sperm. The eggs hatch into tiny black tadpoles, which change into wee toads in a couple of months.
Toads live on dry land for most of their lives. They hide under rocks or boards in the daytime, and come out at night to feed. In the winter, they burrow into the ground—sometimes as much as three feet.
In the spring, he comes out to add his voice to the spring chorus. The voice is a prolonged, rather monotonous trill.
So the toad is a very useful animal to have around. However, it is definitely not very smart to kiss him hoping that a handsome prince will appear.
All you’ll get is a sore mouth.

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