My third grade colleague, Bruno, is a great hunting companion. Curious, quick and built low to the ground, he is now feared by every amphibian and lizard along Bull Creek. He caught three small toads over an hour within fifty feet of our house, not to mention a number of 3" skinks. The little toad above was different from any I had seen before so I sent it off to Brian Edmonds who responded rapidly that it is a dwarf American toad.
"Dwarf American toads are confined more or less to the Ozarks. They are smaller than other American toads and are often reddish in coloration. The red spots are diagnostic."Our "garden variety" toad along Bull Creek is the American toad, Anaxyrus americanus. It turns out there are three subspecies. The eastern American toad, Anaxyrus americanus americanus, is the one we all know and love, warts and all.
"The eastern American toad is medium-sized and has a large, kidney-shaped gland called the parotoid gland behind each eye. The pupil of each eye is horizontal. This toad may be gray, greenish gray, or various shades of brown. The dark spots on the back may encircle 1–3 warts. The belly is white with dark gray mottling. The call is a sustained, high-pitched musical trill lasting 6–30 seconds." MDC Field Guide
|"A little privacy please." The male is considerably smaller than the female.|
|Toad eggs - REK|
The tadpoles, like the adult, secrete a protective chemical from their skin called bufotoxin which can make predators sick. It can be irritating to our mucous membranes and can make your dog sick but as Amphibiaweb.org mentions "toads have little defense against boys" who can be very destructive in breeding season.
Back to Bruno's find, the dwarf American toad, Anaxyrus americanus charlesmithi. "It is smaller (only about 2 inches, snout to vent) and more reddish brown, with fewer, smaller, or no dark spots on the back; belly is cream colored with a few dark gray spots on the breast. " (MDC) The parotoid gland is much less prominent as seen above.
|The proper grip - note the red dots|
Extensive information on both species is at this Amphibiaweb.org site.