Amazing Western Leopard Toad

leopard_toad~A_Froneman

This amazing Western Leopard Toad, a critically endangered South African endemic, has taken up residence at Eagleyes Guest House in Stanford and had his pic taken by Albert Froneman, highly acclaimed wildlife photographer. Stanford is considered the furthest point this unique amphibian is found from the coast. Their protection in this area is vital and a newly soon to be formed Stanford Frog initiative is being put in place to ensure this species’ survival. In the meanwhile our resident expert, Naas Terblanche, can be contacted at info@vaalvlei.co.za should you need any further information on this extraordinary conservation gem. Failing this, please contact Royd Frith at 071 128 5533 or mail to info@eagleyes.co.za.

“The Western Leopard Toad lives in Cape Town and the Agulhas Plain. As such it shares its home with millions of Capetonians. As toads go, it is larger than most and exquisitely marked. It happily co-exists with humans in the suburbs, and would be just another beautiful inhabitant of Cape Town if it were not for the fact that it is an explosive breeder!

Every year, for a few days usually in August, toady goes a courting. This is unusual in that it is confined to less than a week a year. Thousands of toads migrate to suitable ponds. There the males snore and fight for the females. The females lay their eggs and depart, migrating back to their gardens. The exhausted males follow later when no more females arrive at the pools.

Again, this would be perfectly natural were it not for the fact that we have built roads and highways all around their breeding ponds.

And so every year there is a problem that potentially thousands of toads end up pancaked on our roads

Fortunately, there are volunteers who, every year while toads only have sex their minds, man the roads, rescuing toads, controlling traffic and preventing a blood bath.  We need your help to save our toads. The frenzy lasts for only two to five nights a year, but in that time the next generation of toads is created or doomed.

Identification

The Western Leopard Toad can reach an impressive size of about 140 mm in body length. Like all toads, it has a rough skin and two large parotoid glands on either side of the head and neck region behind the eyes. It has a beautiful pattern of chocolate to reddish-brown patches with a bright yellow or black edging, on a pink or grey background (although duller individuals are also found). There is usually a yellow stripe running the length of the back between the patches. The underside is granular and cream-coloured, with males having a darkish throat.

Other toad species that occupy its habitat in places, generally have a duller brown to greyish upper surface colouring, covered in darker blotches and smaller markings. These species are: the Raucous Toad (Amietophrynus rangeri); the Sand Toad (Vandijkophrynus angusticeps); and the Guttural Toad (Amietophrynus gutturalis), an introduced species in the Constantia area of the Cape Peninsula. Of these, the Raucous Toad is the most similar, but besides colour and pattern differences, it usually has only one elongated patch between the eyes, instead of the usual two of the Western Leopard Toad. It also does not occur on the Cape Peninsula and Cape Flats, which is the best known distribution area of the Western Leopard Toad, but occurs throughout the remainder of the Western Leopard Toad’s distribution area.

The advertisement call is a deep pulsed snore that continues for about a second and is repeated every three to four seconds. It can also be described as sounding like a tractor or motorcycle engine, or a very loud “purr”. The call is quite different to that of any other frog species in its distribution area, including its nearest relatives. For example, the Raucous Toad makes loud, duck-like quacks, repeated incessantly, and the Guttural Toad has a constantly repeated vibrant snore.” – http://www.leopardtoad.co.za

LISTEN TO THE TOADSNORE IF YOU HEAR THIS IN YOUR AREA YOU HAVE WESTERN LEOPARD TOADS BREEDING NEAR YOUR HOUSE! PLEASE LET US KNOW ON THE HOTLINE