September 14th, 2009 – Toad

This little guy has been hanging around the back steps for a couple of weeks now.  I never really felt like going out to photograph him any of the nights that my husband said he was out there before tonight.  I did find his day time hiding spot under the bushes one day and got some photos of him.  But I was unable to get close enough to get anything worth posting.  But tonight I was informed he was out there again.  Not by my husband, but by Sniffer.  Sniffer is our tiny rescue dog that is 1/2 Chihuahua and 1/2 Jack Russell Terrier.  And her temperament is just what you would expect from a mix of those two breeds.  LOL !   She is well trained, so she’s not a bad dog, but it took some getting there.  Anyway…  she has always hated the idea of going potty on a leash.  And she is simply too small to turn loose around here for potty breaks, with the increasing coyote problem in the area.   Thankfully our large dogs have so far done a great job of keeping the coyotes off of our family’s land.  But all of our neighbors have had encounters with them.   So when Sniffer needs to go outside to potty, we put her on a light weight chain by the back door for a few minutes.  Long enough for a good potty break, and we bring her back inside.

Now for some background info on Sniffer.  She will kill anything she can.  I honestly think that she would attempt to kill anything, if she were mearly big enough.  As it is, she goes about aggressively “protecting” us from beetles, skinks, toads, etc.  And she leaves the big stuff to the big dogs.   I am not fond of this behavior in her and I do what I can to prevent it, when possible.

Most people have probably witnessed a dog grab a toad, the toad pees in the dogs mouth, the dog’s mouth foams excessively, and the dog spits out the toad.  Or continues to pester it with it’s paws, but won’t put it in it’s mouth again (except for the most determined and silly dogs).  Most dogs tend to leave toads alone, having usually learned their lesson at a young age.

What most people might not have noticed, is that toads sometimes actively provoke dogs.  I have no idea why they behave so dangerously sometimes.  But after many years of observing and training dogs, and many years of observing and photographing toads, I have come to the conclusion that many toads have a very territorial, arrogant behavior.   They will express this towards other toads, and often dogs.   They will stand at the edge of what they feel is their territory and stand in a way that puffs out their chest and puts their feet at a wide stance.  Almost a “bring it on” type look.  I personally really like toads and frogs and I find this behavior amusing and entertaining.

But this toad seems to have developed a particular liking for aggravating Sniffer.  I’ll know when he is out there, because she will be barking her little yappy head off in her little killer bark.  And tonight was no exception.  There she was standing at the end of her lead, while the toad stood inches from the furthest distance that she could reach – while glaring at her.  And she would just continue to yap away with all the viciousness that she can muster.

So tonight I went out and took some photos in the dark of him in all his annoyed glory.  Clearly he is not happy.  Yet he will not give up his perch, sitting inches from a barking dog.  Stubborn he is.

And guessing by the little bloody spot above one of his eyes, I’m guessing that at least once, he got close enough for a paw swat.  Still I like the little guy.  Even if he does glare at me too.