Jack, a One-Eyed Rocky Mountain Toad
A few months ago, I blogged about the human devastation of the world’s amphibians. In that post, I mentioned a one-eyed Rocky Mountain toad that for several years had appeared at my back door at the start of the summer monsoon. I am pleased to report that Jack, the name I gave the toad, is back. Toads are generally long lived, from a few years to near 40 years. I haven’t found longevity stats for Jack’s subspecies, but he is at least four years old.
When I first spotted Jack yesterday, the poor creature was shriveled and its back was contorted. But after an hour-long roly polie feast, he plumped up and looked perfectly normal (except for the missing eye). Click the photos for larger views.
Or Is It Jill?
Jack wasn’t around this afternoon. He probably went down to the pond to try to socialize a bit. As I type this, however, and look at Jack’s pale throat, I wonder if the name should be Jill. Have to check that throat after the pond tour. During mating season, throats of the males are darker than the females.
I am glad Jack and the other toads are here. They help control the annual monsoon earwig and mosquito explosion. Our local toads, wrens, and thrushes provide ground support for our aerial defenders, the dragonflies, hummingbirds, swallows, whippoorwills, and bats. Though we have big swampy ponds near (200 feet) the house, the few mosquitoes that survive the fish, dragonfly larvae, other aquatic predators, rarely penetrate our aerial defenses, and if they do reach the house, they meet the toads. If they pass the toads, they encounter the spiders. Every doorway, window, and room has carefully monitored spider webs.
July 1, 2014. Jill hasn’t appeared yet.