Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Contractor Cometh. Save the Toads!

This week I started preparing for the contractor, who will come Thursday or Friday to start a major drainage project around the barn.  This will involve leveling, gravelling, drip-lining, animal-walkwaying and drainpiping.   It means my husband and I have to remove everything from the barn area.   “Everything” includes a couple hundred bales of so-so hay we made in a first attempt, which has been a bit of a pain, but there’s a more important thing that needs to be moved.

It’s the toads. 
What to do with Mama Toad?

This summer, we have been inundated with baby toads in the stable.  They have been hopping under foot like crazy, causing me to walk, and lead the horses, like I’m playing “Red Light. Green Light.”  I don’t want to step on these little animals that are having enough trouble with all the changes in the environment that people have created.

Yesterday, I solemnly instructed my husband that, when he sees the toads, he is to catch them in a bucket and release them in the woods by the pond, so they don’t get run over by the contractor.   The last three nights, I have been out looking for them, thinking that it would be easy enough to find the little guys I have had to avoid stepping on for three weeks. 

Wouldn’t you know it?  They have all vanished.  I can’t find a baby toad up there.  The only amphibians I found were one wayward frog, who was just too boingy for me to catch, and the big, mama toad.

The mama toad has lived here for years, I’m guessing, based on her size and the reading I have done on toad’s being territorial.   So I found her last night and was faced with a dilemma.  Do I move her, completely disorienting her and risking her hopping her way back to her territory before the contractor comes, or do I keep her safely in a terrarium until he’s gone, then release her back in the stable?

After some debate, which included a trip with her to the house to consult with my husband, I released her in the woods down by the pond. 

I will be watching for her though.  When she hops back to the barn, I want it to be as safe for her as it always has been.

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