Saturday, August 7, 2010

"Bufo alvarius, the Sonoran Desert Toad"

Bufo alvarius or The Sonoran Desert Toad is a frequent visitor at the time of our Monsoons, which occur between late June and the end of August. The Sonoran Desert Toad spends most of their lives buried underground and they are very keen to the effect of the Earth's cycle and their own natural rhythm. These toads appear when our summer showers start and breed in the temporary pools that form after the rains begin.

Males croak incessantly during mating until they find their partner, but have a relatively weak call, compared to other frogs and toads.The main part of its range is from sea-level to 1600 m (5300 ft). The Sonoran Desert Toad can be found in a variety of desert and semi-arid habitats: brushy desert with creosote bush and mesquite washes, semi-arid grasslands and woodlands. It is semi-aquatic and is usually associated with large, somewhat permanent streams. It is occasionally found near small springs, temporary rain pools, human-made canals and irrigation ditches. They frequently live in rodent burrows. These toads are very large, many the size of your hand and are dark olive green color in appearance.

The Bufo alvarius toad is carnivorous and is known to eat snails, beetles, spiders, grasshoppers, lizards, mice, and other smaller toad species. A long sticky tongue aids in catching prey. If molested or bothered, however, the Sonoran Desert Toad can secrete a poison which irritates the mucous membranes of most predators. This poison can affect animals as large as dogs, and can cause temporary paralysis or death

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