Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fire-bellied Toad

This was a late afternoon find on the day of our White-backed Woodpecker success and after our wine tasting event.  There has been a lot of rain in Hungary this spring and early summer.  During my visit it rained hard during three nights and, on this day, the downpour which chased us into the wine cellar occurred.  There were muddy pools nearly everywhere.  

These pools must be favored by the fire-bellied toad, also called firebelly toad (Bombina bombina), because we heard and saw them again in similar pools elsewhere.  I learned more about toads just by reading this Wikipedia link.  For example, there is no distinction between toads and frogs by taxonomy.  

I heard an unbirdlike booming sound like a one-toned instrument coming in to pace an orchestra from a few locations.  Gerard went to the nearest pool and caught one of the vocalists.

Turning it over in his hand revealing the orange, speckled smooth belly gives clear indiction of how the little thing got its name.  Like the Fire Salamander found earlier, the skin of this amphibian has a toxic coating to deter would be predators.  I didn't pick up the toad, but I did touch the salamander.  Before knowing of the toxin on the skin, I must have touched my face because I felt a mild tingling and twitching of the skin beneath my eye that lasted approximately fifteen to thirty minutes. It seems unlikely that a mild toxin would deter a large predator like a stork, heron or egret, but maybe.   

We thought the toad below was probably full of eggs.

And to hear the fire-bellied vocalist, click on my 40 second You Tube link below.

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