My wife left a message on my phone at work today exlaiming, “The backyard is infested with frogs, HUGE frogs, call me back!” I thought what in the world? Huge frogs? We had a lot of rain the last two days and it’s widely known that frogs tend to come out of their hiding places during or after the rains so it sort of makes sense, but huge frogs? Well, she wasn’t kidding, we soon learned that these abnormally-sized creatures that made it into our backyard are known as Sonoran Desert Toads, or Colorado River Toads and they can grow to be 7″ long. The two she found were at least that big, but what they were doing in our backyard and how they got there remains a mystery. Here’s a little bit of info I discovered about these big suckers:
“At 7 inches (18 cm) or more this is one of the largest toads native to North America. Adults have a uniformly green to greenish-gray dorsum (topside of the body) and creamy white venter (underside). Sonoran Desert toads feed upon a variety of insects throughout their lives. Adults eat primarily beetles, although large individuals will occasionally eat small vertebrates including other toads. Sonoran Desert toads are active from late May to September, though principally during the summer rainy season. They are nocturnal during the hot summer months. The male€™s call is weak, sounding somewhat like a ferryboat whistle. Eggs are laid in temporary rainpools and permanent ponds. Larvae metamorphose after 6 to 10 weeks. This species lives at least 10 years, and perhaps as many as 20 years.”
I’d say they have to live at least that long in order to get that big. So we took a few photos of them before catching them and taking them to a nearby pond out by the golf course, which is where we think they may have come from in the first place. When we dropped them off I saw another toad already hanging out by the shore who quickly jumped in the water as we approached, so it seemed to be a fine place to let them free. They quickly jumped out of the cardboard boxes we’d stuck them in and dove into the murky pond, happy as could be. The pond was fairly decent size, so they should be fine there and I’m sure there were lots more toads lying around other than the one I saw. And at least they have each other. Here’s just a few pics of these monster-size frogs. To give you an idea of the size of that one guy, the decorative rock we have in our backyard is 3/4″-1″ rock, and he spans more than a few.