No Princes Here
Reminder: You can enlarge any of the photos in this blog by clicking on it. Click again for a full-screen image.
Early July marks the beginning of the monsoon rains in the Sonoran Desert. So far we’ve had a few heavy rains, although we’ve reverted to hot and dry conditions at least temporarily. The rains bring out life forms that remain hidden for most of the year and these include Sonoran Desert Toads. These are huge toads — six inches in length — with dark, olive-green bodies and white bellies. Some individuals are covered with faint red blotches.
The toads show up pretty much anywhere you find water — in creek bottoms, puddles, even in backyard swimming pools.
They are extremely toxic. Glands on the sides of their heads emit a poison that can be lethal. Animals eat these amphibians at their peril. Any princess who kisses one of these animals would be taking a grave risk and I don’t recommend it.
Their stay above ground is brief. Typically, they are visible on the surface for just a few days, at most. They breed, they eat, frantically — their diet consists primarily of insects — and then, they retreat to underground burrows for up to another year.
It is sometimes possible to find Sonoran Desert Toads by listening for their calls. They call to each other at night and early in the morning. To my ears, their calls are a baa-ing sound that’s a bit like the noise made by a sheep.
Photos taken with a Canon 5DS-R. All images at M setting and assisted by Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite. The first image was made at ISO 320, f8 @ 1/160. The second and third images were made at ISO 200, f9 @ 1/160.