The Frog Prince, a tale by the Brothers Grimm, tells of a princess who kissed a frog, turning the amphibian into a prince (lucky gal). What if one kissed a toad instead? I wonder how that version would have played out.
Toads with their warty skin aren’t high on many folks’ list of animals they’d get close to, let alone lip-to-lip.
Toads get a bad wrap about warts. No (and no again) you don’t get warts from handling a toad. But those warts do serve an important purpose. They contain toxins that are effective in deterring predators. And toads have lots of them — owls, ravens, snakes, even bears, coyotes, weasels and foxes.
Sometimes a good offence is the best defence. Frighten this toad and it may inflate itself with air and stand up on all four legs. Making yourself look bigger might just deter the guy who’s trying to have you for lunch.
While an inflated toad might not deter you if you’re intent on picking it up be forewarned — it may empty its bladder and pee all over you. (Been there, done that as a kid. It prompted rapid release of the toad.)
I didn’t kiss this western toad (nor any others, at least not recently). He lived — and may still do — in the rock pile near our steps, with crevices to hide in and food near by. Sometimes on cloudy days he would sit in view on a little rock porch which is where I took his photo. A handsome lad, even if he’s not a prince.
Western toad Bufo boreas