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Duration:06:25
Uploaded:2020-12-03
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Meet Trevor the smooth sided toad! What makes her special, where does she live, how does she spend her time at Animal Wonders, and is she poisonous?

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Hello welcome to the Reptile Room at Animal Wonders!

I’m Jessi and this is Trevor the toad! From poisonous to cute, Trevor is a new ambassador here and she’s such a cool gal that I wanted to make sure I introduced this toxic toad properly. [CHEERY INTRO MUSIC].

Trevor is a smooth sided toad, also called a spotted toad, and their natural habitat range is in the tropical and subtropical zones in South America including Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, and others. One of my favorite things to talk about with Trevor is what makes her a toad instead of a frog. There’s quite a few differences between toads and frogs, but here a few main ones:.

Toads often have bumpy skin, but as you can see Trevor has smooth skin, which is how they got the name smooth sided toad. Another difference is that some frogs have teeth, but toads don’t. So I don’t have to worry about being bitten by Trevor.

Toads and frogs arrange their eggs differently. Frogs tend to lay them in a big bunch while toads have them in long strings. And another way to tell them apart is by looking at these big bumps behind their eyes, but more on that later!

Trevor was a previous pet and her owners could no longer care for her, so they called up Animal Wonders asking if we could take her in. She’s a welcome new resident here and it’s been fun getting to know her personality and gaining her trust. She’s not a full grown adult yet.

She’s going to get to be about 6 to 8 inches long, which is pretty gigantic for a toad! Since she’s new, we started her off with this habitat, which is a good size for her right now, but she'll need a larger space when she gets bigger. My favorite part about her home is that it’s bioactive so Trevor’s waste is decomposed by a clean up crew of springtails and roly polies, which are also known as pill bugs or isopods.

The plants then absorb the nutrients the clean up crew leaves behind so the soil never becomes toxic to Trevor. And as a bonus, Trevor gets an occasional surprise snack if she spots and catches one of the roly polies. Trevor likes to sit under her cork tree bark hide, but she’s also out and about quite often.

When I go to check on her, it usually takes me a bit of time to find her because she has really good camouflage. Her coloration blends in perfectly to the leaves, moss, and other organic material on the ground, and I just really like the reminder that in the wild that’s one of their main ways of staying safe. But there’s another way they defend themselves.

And now we’re back to talking about these big bumps behind her eyes. These are called paratoid glands, and they're packed with poison! These glands are present in all toads and it makes them a formidable prey item that many animals know not to try and eat.

The paratoid glands secrete a poison called bufotoxin when the toad is threatened, and if a human were to accidentally eat the poison, it’s potent enough to cause heart failure! Smooth sided toads are fairly commonly kept as pets, so it’s important to know the potential danger involved if you’re going to handle them. Because it can be easy to forget that you might have toxins on your hands and then touch your eye or eat something without washing your hands.

So make sure you wash your hands before and after you handle a toad - not that you’re gonna get warts or anything! So, knowing that Trevor has bufotoxin and she uses it when he thinks her life is in danger,. I want to make sure Trevor never thinks I’m a predator that’s trying to eat her.

We’ve gone slow with our interactions with her and it’s paid off because she’s gotten so comfortable with us that she doesn’t try and jump away when we hold her, even when I move around. Her comfort level being held is really important because, as an ambassador for her species, she travels to educational programs and we share her with students and other audiences. Trevor is a great representative of toads because she’s going to get big, and it’s easy to see the poison glands.

But it’s also nice to have a toad with smooth skin because when I ask the audience to guess what she is, most of them will guess frog. So it’s a natural segway into talking about how toads are classified in the same order as frogs, so technically all toads are frogs. But toads are separated into their own family within the frog order.

Which is why you might have heard the saying, "All toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads." Trevor is an awesome ambassador for not only her own species: she also helps get the audience interested in learning more about the nuances of classification and how animals are defined by their outward characteristics, but that could also lead to interest in how we’re now learning more things about how animals are related to each other through genetic testing. I love it! I love how we’re constantly gaining new information, so there’s never a time where you can’t learn something new.

Alright, let’s let Trevor head back. She’s been such a good sport hanging out with us and now it’s time for a nice snack. Trevor took about a week to settle in here, but now that she’s comfortable with us and used to her new home, she has a big appetite.

In the wild, smooth sided toads are most active at night, but here Trevor happily eats during the day. At first she was too nervous to eat when we were watching her, but eventually she learned that we weren’t threatening at all and now she eats whenever. It seems like her favorite foods are waxworms, but since those are a bit too fatty, she doesn’t get them often.

She also enjoys mealworms and hornworms, which we set in her bowl or on a piece of bark. Offering a variety of foods is important for her overall health, so cockroaches also make up part of her diet. But since they’re super quick, we hang onto them with tweezers so they don’t just dash away.

And as I mentioned before, Trevor also gets surprise snacks throughout the day and night if she spots a roly poly cruising around, cleaning up the soil. I really enjoy watching Trevor eat. It makes me happy to see her comfortable and being able to just chill out and enjoy her life.

I’m excited to see how people are going to react to her when she’s full grown. She’s gonna be such a big girl! Thanks for letting me share Trevor with you!

I hope you enjoyed getting to know her. If you’d like to continue learning about the animals we have here at Animal Wonders, be sure to subscribe to go on more animal adventures each week. Thanks, and I’ll see you soon!

Bye! [BOLD OUTRO MUSIC].