A tadpole finally transmogrified into a tiny toad in the kitchen tank today. Here he sits peacefully in his own bubble atop an algae island.
A little toad history - I first spotted toad eggs in the Newt Pond on the ranch on March 18th. On April 15th, the Newt Pond was alive with thousands of toad tadpoles. Several sources state that the California toad takes about 8 weeks from eggs to first toad-hood, but I only saw toad tadpoles with no legs and no mini-toads around the rapidly shrinking pond in May. By late May, I was concerned that the the tadpoles would not make it out before the Newt Pond disappeared, so I collected a few toad and treefrog tadpoles and placed them in an aquarium in my kitchen. The Newt Pond was completely dry by June 7th.
This guy took 26 weeks to grow up. That is a lot longer than 8 weeks. It could have been differences in the water temperatures or food supply in the kitchen tank. Although hard to tell in this photo, he has the distinct yellow toad line down his back and lots of warts. Over the next few days, I will watch to see if any other toadlets appear in the kitchen tank and try to get better photos.
This toadlet is barely the size of my pinky fingernail. Interestingly, Friday night I saw a figure scrambling across the driveway when I came home after dark. I stopped the car and watched a larger-than-fist-size California toad hop across the drive and up a steep bank. I don't know how long it takes a toad to get that big, but that's a lot of bug-eating.
California toad, Bufo boreas halophilus