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Toad Catching this Summer!

Growing up in rural Nevada, catching toads was one of my favorite pastimes. My family and I would spend countless hours exploring the nearby abandoned golf course, eager to discover what the night had in store for us. As we walked through the tall grass and peered into the murky ponds, we kept our ears open for the distinct chorus of toads nearby.

One summer in high school, I decided to take my friends toad “hunting” (more like catch and release, but that’s what we called it). We set out just as the sun was beginning to set, armed with flashlights and buckets. As we made our way to the top of a hill overlooking the pond, I felt the warmth of the summer night air on my skin and looked up to see the stars shining brightly in the clear sky.

With the help of our flashlights, we spotted dozens of toads hopping through the grass near the water's edge. As we chased them down and added them to our buckets, I heard my friends laughing and rolling down the hill in fits of giggles. The night felt infinite.

While we made our way back home, buckets in tow, I couldn't help but feel grateful for the experiences that catching toads had given me over the years. It taught me to appreciate the beauty of the natural world and to find wonder in the smallest things. And, as I looked at my friends, their faces illuminated by the glow of our flashlights, I knew that I had shared that sense of wonder with them too.

If you're looking to experience the joy of catching toads for yourself, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Choose the right time of day: Toads are most active during the evening and nighttime hours, so if you want to increase your chances of catching one, plan your toad-hunting adventures for these times. Be sure to bring a flashlight or headlamp so you can see where you're going and spot any toads hiding in the grass.

  2. Look in the right places: Toads live in a variety of habitats, including wetlands, forests, and even urban areas. In Northern Nevada, they are often found near bodies of water such as streams, ponds, and reservoirs. Keep an eye out for areas with tall grass or dense vegetation, as these are prime hiding spots for toads.

  3. Be patient: Toads can be elusive creatures, so don't get discouraged if you don't find one right away. Take your time exploring different habitats and keep your eyes peeled for movement in the grass or near the water's edge.

  4. Use a gentle touch: When you do catch a toad, be sure to handle it gently and with care. Toads have sensitive skin and can be injured if handled roughly. Always wash your hands before and after handling a toad to prevent the spread of disease.

  5. Release them back into the wild: While catching toads can be a fun activity, it's important to remember that they are wild animals and deserve to be treated with respect. Always release any toads you catch back into their natural habitat after observing them.

Catching toads is a beloved pastime that can bring joy and wonder to people of all ages. Whether you're exploring an abandoned golf course or a nearby wetland, there's always something to discover and appreciate. Grab a bucket and head out into the night - you never know what you might find.


About the Author:

Brittany is originally from a small, rural town in southern Nevada. She grew up herping with her family in the mojave desert. She attended UNR and studied MANY things before settling on Wildlife Ecology. Her summers in college were spent teaching STEM camps and she was a substitute teacher during the school year, which made her fall in love with education. Currently, she is finishing up a degree in both elementary and secondary science education. Seeing a kid get excited about science is unlike any other feeling. If you ever have a question about reptiles or toads, she is your go-to gal!


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