Spring Toads

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Whopper Jr. calling out to all the ladies.

Whopper Jr. is ready for love. Toad Love.

The Joker up in his leaf shaped bowl, plotting new schemes for cricket retrieval.

Leroy Waxworms heading off to the spa for an afternoon of pampering.

Spring has officially arrived. The snow has melted, trees have sprung back to life, sprouting new green leaves, and flowers have blossomed into breathtaking shapes and colors. We are once again reminded of all the vibrant life around us that was dormant during the winter. The crisp air is filled with the sound of birds singing in the trees and the sound of malfunctioning electronics … wait, what? What vile abomination could add such a discordant note to the symphony that is spring? And why does it have to be emanating from my living room?

I first heard this loud and astounding noise very late one night, and thought that something had surely broken, or an alarm was going off. Once I determined that my condo was not on fire and this was neither a smoke detector running low on batteries nor the DVD/VCR player about to explode (I watch too many YouTube videos), I determined that this sound must be animal in origin.

My first stop was the kitchen, to look in on my white-lipped and White’s treefrogs, who had been talking a lot lately (but not nearly at this loud or frenzied volume). However, The Joker, Slorg, and Leroy Waxworms did not appear to have been chirping, as their throats were of normal shapes and sizes. I then moved on to various gecko cages, pausing at Shrubelinda the golden gecko, a very chatty lizard, but he was not the current offender.

I eliminated all of the nonspeaking species in the living room, and that left me with only toad options. This in turn, left me with two toad cages to consider. In one, resided Cap’n Scrappy, my mini-sized American toad, who was still too young to chirp, and in the other, my trio of Great Plains toads. I had found the culprit! Whopper Jr., the largest of my male toads, was standing tall, had a triumphant look on his face, and his throat was dark and extended. I was surprised that this shapeless blob of a toad could crank out such an ear-shattering racket. I then had the disturbing thought of what would happen if the younger male, Won Ton, were to take after him and decide to try and woo Turkey Burger, the female, at the same time. With both toads competing for her affection, I’d have a very loud toad love-triangle in my living room.

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Cap'n Scrappy has decided to attract the ladies with his bachelor pad instead of his voice.
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Luxury awaits any lady toad that is lucky enough to catch the eye of Cap'n Scrappy. 
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Spring is here and Cap'n Scrappy is hoping to spend the evening with a special lady toad. 

Between Whopper Jr.’s new found use for his lungs, Shrubelinda’s constant chattering, my kitchen frogs’ chirping, Rex the frog-eyed gecko scratching and digging in the sand all night, and the phantom hisser (I have no idea who has been making this particularly menacing noise!), I have come to one conclusion: I’ll never sleep again!

-The Toad Talker

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Kristin Van Alstine

Kristin Van Alstine
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