Thursday, May 13, 2010

Western Toad: Buffo borealis - or something like that

 Western toad - note the white stripe down its back

Actually the Western toad is Bufo boreas but I like to make up names, especially if you have to do it under pressure. Bufo is Latin for toad - which I am sure we all remember from our Latin classes - and boreas or borealis is Latin for "northern." I like the borealis monicker as it evokes images of the Northern Lights.

If you check out the Canadian Wildlife Service website you will see that the toad is a species of concern. Which means they are worried but not too worried. Sort of like when you are trying to decide if you should eat the egg salad sandwich that has been out on the counter for an hour - you're worried but not too worried. Myself, I always eat the sandwich.

The toad is interesting for a number of reasons. It is relatively long living amphibian unless it gets run over by a car or stepped on by a horse - which seems to be the #1 and #2 causes of early demise in a toad. They don't get eaten much due to the fact that they are poisonous (and very fattening). Apparently, the poison affects your blood pressure, lowering it, and brings on hallucinations, vomiting and excessive drooling - I suspect it is the secret ingredient in a lot of beer.

This photo of a toad out by my garden I especially like because of the composition. by going to a panoramic frame the toad's size is exaggerated and you get the feeling of being down at his or her level. I will be going on safari at some point this spring/summer to film the mass toad migrations of Wells Gray Park. The event happens quickly and is a bit of a hit and miss thing but if timed right it is a truly spectacular sight.

Must hop along now.

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Please feel free to leave a comment. Ever since old Rebel rolled on me and I've been strapped to this old hospital bed I've enjoyed whatever posts come my way.