Friday, June 22, 2007

Super Summer Science

Last week Lee spent the better part of a day releasing his painted turtle, cleaning the terrarium and preparing it for a toad. Well, the toad died while waiting for its new home and the terrarium has been staring us in the face for too long. Poor Lee, he's had despairing moments when he thinks he'll never find another toad. With a flashlight and net in hand, he tried last Friday night and had an almost captured toad. Dad has gone with him to the tin shed looking with no luck finding one. I looked with him down on the marsh; we heard many, but found none. I did catch a lightening bug, my first one ever. So we're sitting at supper last night and Lee teared up, saying I'm just taking the terrarium down; I'll never find another toad. We all encouraged him to keep looking, one will hop across his path when he least expects it. So, we're fishing last night, Lou is playing with Diamond and she starts screaming for Lee. I found one, I found one! Lee I found you a toad. Praise God!, I said to myself.

Now comes the Super Summer Science part. Using the Golden Guide Reptiles and Amphibians guidebook we identified it as an American Toad. We also read info about toads from, Northwoods Wildlife: A Watcher's Guide to Habitats and The Kingfisher Illustrated Animal Encyclopedia. But the most exciting part of keeping a toad is watching it eat. Lee and Grace caught two deer flies this morning, one got away in the transfer process and the other was quickly spied by the toad. How incredible to watch as the toad focused intently on the deer fly as it flew around the terrarium. The toad would hop once, stop and watch, then hop again in the appropriate direction. The deer fly didn't seem to notice is was being preyed upon. Then in two quick flicks of the tongue the fly was caught and gone, all in a split second. The toad tongue was larger than I'd expected. Well wider than expected and it was pink. Not an experiment type of science today, but definitely interesting and very informative. So, find a toad, put it into a terrarium, clear rubbermaid container or gallon size glass jar and then feed it some insects. Definitely worth watching.