Spot the beast 79

?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?

Our beast is a toad known around here as a “Rococo” and in English as a Schneider’s toad (Rhinella schneideri), a rather large toad known to occur from North and Central Argentina (including Salta, where we are), central Bolivia, the Atlantic coast of Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay in elevations up to 2,000 metres above sea level and in various habitats, including urban areas. They are often found around houses in rural areas.

The males can measure up to 17 cm in length and the females 25 cm. Their maximum weight can reach 2 kg! (the one in this post is probably 6-700g). It is a shy and mostly nocturnal beast that during the day relies on its colour and remaining flat and inmobile not to be detected by potential predators.

We often see this one at our small dam near the house but also it frequents our outside lights feeding on insects attracted to them.

Their call resembles a stake being hammered fast. The females deposit up to two thousand eggs in double strands deep in water pools and the rather large tadpoles hatch and feed on algae.

Despite its large size and excellent camouflage, rococos have some enemies, apart from men. The “Sapera” snake (Xenodon merremi) is one of its worst enemies but the toad can puff up with air to avoid being swallowed. It also secretes a bufotoxin that can cause vomiting, paralysis and even death in predators. We have observed a rococo attacked by a “caracara” (Polyborus pancus) that abandoned it when we approached them (I believe that the rococo only survived that beacuse of our fortuitous arrival).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s