Frog and Toad

We take notice of very little of what surrounds us. For one thing, we’re limited by our senses. We don’t see the entire spectrum of light, and at night we see even more poorly. Step outside and there’s a cacophony of animal and insect noises, and yet block out the sounds and ignore them. Animals traipse through our yard, leaving pungent scent messages that our noses don’t detect.

We’re also limited by our busy days. After dinner, do you stand in the yard, looking? And not just looking out, but looking down and looking under? Do you stand there, swatting mosquitos, being delighted by the flashes of lightning bugs? If you do, and you live in America, on a spot of ground where there is damp earth and a pool of water nearby, you’ll likely see this hunter: the American bullfrog.

bullfrog in grass


They can be long-lived (a decade!) and get very large. Here you can see the size in comparison to Steve’s hand.

bullfrog size


We humans see smiles and project personalities onto animals. This frog can’t help looking cheerful, but who knows what it’s really thinking? A frog this size needs to hunt up insects, and even mice and snakes, for it’s supper.



After night falls, we go outside to say hello to the American Toad that has taken up residence by the back porch. I’m happy to see it there. I think that it’s a female, because of the pale coloration of the throat.

American toad


She sits, buddha-like, in the same place, night after night. I love seeing toads. They are voracious consumers of bugs that I’d like to have gone from my garden. My son feeds her beetles.

I challenge you to go out into your familiar landscape and become aware of some living thing that you hadn’t noticed before, then come back and tell me about it. I’d like to know what I’m missing!

(FYI, all photos were taken at night with a flash.)


  1. We have Geckos at night hanging out on the ceiling of the patio along with the occasional coyote lopping down the road in search of rabbit and quail. I have also seen an Owl sitting on the wall and bats dive bombing the bugs swarming under street lights. I’m sure there are snakes and scorpions, but I’m not going to look that hard for them

  2. What a wonderful post Terry!! I’m pretty sure I have no reptiles in my back yard, which is small and in the city. I do have lots and lots off fireflies this summer – it looks like a Midsummer Night’s Dream at dusk! Mrs. Toad has a pretty good cafeteria, thanks to your son; how long did it take her to figure out that your side door was a good place to squat? (I guess the porch light attracts bugs too.) And Mr. Bullfrog seems not at all shy either. I think that I’ve him hopping around in the chicken yard at night.

    • We don’t leave the porch light on – that’s why it’s so hard to know who is underfoot :) There is a bullfrog that hunts in the chicken pen – that’s a different one than the one photographed by the pond.They have their territories, it seems.

      • I’ve occasionally seen what looks like a rat running around in your chicken run at night. (Yeah, I sometimes watch the cam at night.) Since you don’t have cats, how do you keep the rodents under control?

        • Concrete floors. closed doors, tidy surrounding and a good farm dog keep the rodent population down. I think that what you’ve seen is a mouse. The night cam makes them look bigger than they are.

  3. No wonder Ms. Toad is so fat! I love how they will tolerate you if you’re near something they want. I usually have at least one taking up space in my plant pots. Last fall one took up residence on my porch because of my dog’s water dish. Your bullfrog is gorgeous. I’m jealous. Lucky you!

    I’ll have to work to find something new. I’m a plant and critter person, so I’m always looking when I’m out. It drives my family nuts. My son is afraid of spiders and yells at me, “NO, I do NOT want to come see the wolf spider carrying her egg sac around, MOM!” How is this child mine? :D

    Hey, do they ever lay eggs in the pond? Bullfrog tadpoles are huge. Of course, The Beast would probably scarf them down, though, huh? Are there other water sources near you for them to survive in?

    • My son always wants me to take a look at ants. I draw the line at ants. Ugh. Yes, we’ve had both toad and frog tadpoles in the pond, but now that there are so many fish, they eat them up, and we haven’t had any for a few years. I imagine that a few still lurk in the shallows. But, I live in a town with many wetlands and vernal pools. Lots of natural breeding areas.

  4. I had a tree frog somewhere around my front porch. It sounded as if it was inside the house when it croaked. One day when the door was open one of my cats spotted it and tried to crawl through the screen. I got a couple of pictures before it disappeared, not to be seen or heard there again. The cat regularly stands watch when the door is open.
    I lie in bed at night listening to the owls, usually great horned but sometimes something else. A raccoon regularly raids my neighbor’s trash bins and, I suspect, my compost pile. Certainly all the discarded moldy bread disappears overnight. So far this year I have seen deer, singly and three at one time, and rabbits. Urban wildlife! Over the years there have been an assortment of snakes, the occasional toad and who knows what else.

  5. so much to be said about animals/insects/birds and people.
    i can’t go into it – suffice to say, we’re all creations of a loving god and all deserve respect.
    as for the ants – teri – when you look at them think of how they are representatives of one of the first societies on earth andgo back – i dunno – a few million years?
    i love them – in a way – and try to live with them – i guess you could say ‘peaceably’
    like, if i find one in my bath-tub when i go in to fill it, i fish him out and carry him to the door and let him out – he was just looking for water. and when i see signs that they’re getting hungry enough to start trying to come in the house, rather than getting ant spray, i place a flat dish of sugar out near their location – never have much trouble with any of them coming in the house that way.
    ’nuff said from me!

    • Oh, I respect ants, but that doesn’t mean that I have to like them :) And I have no problems smashing a horse fly that’s biting Tonka!

  6. Just yesterday afternoon, a bullfrog scared the heck out of me as it made a gigantic splash when I went to feed my fish in the pond.
    Saw a movement out of the corner of my eye on the wood pile, chipmunk.
    Had a juvenile rat snack sunning itself on my front porch about a month ago.
    And of course those critters that don’t care if you see them or not, rabbits, squirrels, groundhogs and the deer are becoming like goats, very little fear of humans any more.

  7. Our family has always been fond of all kinds of creatures. Your toad brought back memories of one we had in Oklahoma. He lived under the evergreens in front of the house. When mowing time rolled around, we had to find him and put him on the porch. The seasonal shrub trimming also meant he had to go on the porch. He was a big toad who obviously ate well.

  8. Fascinating that Ms Toad stays put even with the camera flash. Those beetles are powerful lures.

  9. Last week I found a rough green snake on our front porch. It was nice to see as I’ve not noticed a snake of any kind in a couple of years. I often take my dog to my aunt’s house to run and play as they have acreage. One evening I was there and had walked to the creek. I was able to spot a heron and a family of beaver swimming among many frogs and fish.

  10. On our walk down the driveway to get the morning paper from the box, we came upon a spider ‘thread’ dangling from an overhead tree branch. The interesting things were that a tiny 3″ stick was located vertically in it at about eye level and then, at the very bottom, a tiny driveway stone was attached and had obviously been pulled up to a height of about 2 feet…like lifting a boulder!! You just never know what you will see next!

  11. The pond at our last house was always teaming with mating, singing toads in early spring followed strings and strings of eggs and garden loads of teeny toads in summer. I loved it all! We controlled fleas in the yard by trapping squirrels and releasing them miles away in a rural park. But, too many times the trap was left out over night. Although we never laid eyes on them roaming loose in our 20 yrs there , we knew they were about by the smells wafting in the windows in the middle of the night and by the raccoon prints regularly left on my garden swing cushion. And we got to see them up close and personal when they managed to wonder into our squirrel trap – 4 baby raccoons, 3 skunks, and a possum. The trick to releasing skunks from the trap involve a utility trailer, a plastic shower curtain, and a husband with swift feet. I’ve never seen (or more importantly) heard any toads at our current house of 7 years. I did put several Louisiana bullfrog tadpoles in this pond. One of the frogs loves to sit in the waterfall and if a robin lands for a bath that bullfrog goes on the attack. He’s not much for sharing. I know the raccoons are lurking here by the occasional koi I find shredded along side the pond. :( I’ve never laid eyes on a snake at either house praise be. Just the squirrels and chipmunks and a lawn decimating vole that has to go! PS – try corn meal to get rid of those ants. It worked like magic for my neighbor this spring. It’s also suppose to work for slugs.

  12. Mullet jumping in the bayou. The gator swimming by. And bats swooping overhead. There used to be a peacock in the neighborhood but I haven’t heard him in the last couple of months.

    • Thank goodness we do not have gators either. I have enough things that want to eat my chickens. Although never say never. We didn’t have armadillos until approx. 5 years ago. Now you see them squashed on the side of the road everywhere.

        • Yep,
          and read the last line, kinda funny.
          ST. LOUIS, Mo (KMOX) – Making the trek north from Texas, Florida and Louisiana — up through Arkansas and Missouri — the armadillo invasion continues along St. Louis area roads.

          “(we’re) getting more and more reports of them causing some damage to golf courses, lawns, and of course reports of roadkill all over the place,” says Missouri Conservation Department’s Tom Meister.

          He says once the weather starts to get warm armadillos begin to pop up everywhere.

          Meister says the leathery shell-covered mammal are mostly harmless, but should be avoided because they are the only animal to carry leprosy.

          “There are people who will not only eat them, but make funny touristy type stuff, like ashtrays out of armadillo shells,” says Meister. “Research shows that people who handle those things that way are the ones who get leprosy.”

          Meister says you see so many road kill armadillos because their defense mechanism when scared by a car is to jump three feet in the air, usually right into the vehicle’s grill.

  13. We have tiny frogs. Some are so small they seem like insects. Some are larger than others and at night they climb up our glass door looking for bugs and spiders. Just at dusk or sometimes prior to a rain shower they start their calling. Can’t ask for anything better to fall asleep to.

    • Boy do I ever agree with your comment about falling asleep to the sound of frogs…..It is magical! We have a couple of resident frogs in our pond. I have never seen or heard a toad though. That video is great fun. Those red bugs are( were)..ha ha, interesting looking. Are they a problem in your garden Terry or does Mr. Toad take care of them?

      • I don’t see those beetles during the day, but I imagine they do a good bit of damage to my plants. I’d need a few more toads to get rid of all of the bugs.

  14. I almost stepped on a toad at night last week. Thank goodness I had my flashlight. My welsummer has eaten 2 baby frogs or toads in the last few weeks. The first time I saw her running around with something hanging half out of her mouth and another girl chasing her. Poor toad! We have quite a few bats. I love watching them at dusk as they swoop thru my gardn. Last year we had a tree frog, I still hear him but haven’t sen him yet this year.

    • I can assure you that it was a frog, not a toad, that your hen ate. Chickens will grab toads and run around with them, but then realize what they have and drop them.

  15. We had a bull frog that moved into the water feature for a while. I would dangle worms from a stick which it loved. I’ll look out for the toads now. Love the video!