I chanced to be walking past the pond this evening, when a strange noise caught my attention – a thin piping, like a cricket or similar insect.
When I shone my torch on the ground I found a dozen or so toads* scattered about, obviously enjoying the cool night. The noise was coming from a pair of toads in – to put it politely – an amorous embrace.
I watched them for a few minutes. I’m aware that staring at mating toads by torchlight is slightly voyeuristic, but there was a lot going on. The female on the bottom (at least, I assume that’s how it works with toads) was walking about quite actively, despite the male on her back. The male, on the other hand, was vigorously defending his position. Every now and then another toad would creep up behind, obviously intent on taking over, whereupon the male would push him away with long strokes of his powerful back legs – all while he was still on top of the female.
Fascinating stuff. I suspect there’ll be the patter of lots of tiny webbed feet soon!
(*The last time I saw a toad I mistook it for a frog. I checked this time!)