That’s right; we have another new resident, a Surinam Toad! This interesting critter is also known as a Pipa pipa, and is native to the Amazon rainforest. Unlike most toads, the Pipa pipa is a bottom dweller who surfaces for air.
Still, the strong back legs of Surinam Toad make them supercharged jumpers. Its legs keep us on our toes as we have to be sure to cover the cage to prevent escapes.
When you first look at the Pipa pipa, it appears to be…well…dead; it lays motionless on the bottom of its cage. This behavior isn’t a result of laziness, but rather a skill mastered to help with hunting. As potential prey swims by thinking there’s nothing to worry about---SLURP! Dinner is served.
So what’s for dinner when you’re a 6 to 8 inch toad? In the wild, they prefer live fish but also consume worms and other bugs. Since ours is still on the small side, worms have become its dietary staple. We may have to upgrade soon as two worms can be consumed in only a few short seconds like a single piece of spaghetti! Maybe its been taking eating lessons from Bane the Black Throat Monitor who can also make short work of his food…
Eating is done by the non-polite method of slurping since these guys have no teeth or tongue. If a meal doesn’t swim by making vibrations in the water, the Toad will use its long fingers to forage. If slurping fails to catch the meal, those same fingers can scoop the prey into its waiting mouth. One way or another, dinner is served for these persistent hunters.
In the animal kingdom, Surinam Toads are most known for their strange breeding habits. A female will lay eggs, then the male will fertilize them, and pass them back to the female and places them on her back where they are absorbed into her skin. The young toads develop through their tadpole stage while still on….or rather inside of mom and when they emerge they do so as fully developed frogs. We're not sure what role our toad will play in the breeding process since we have yet to determine its gender. We're excited about our new resident either way!
The Youtube video below doesn't feature our new star, but it shows baby Pipa pipa emerging from their mother. It's strange for sure, but definitely worth watching!
(Youtube video courtesy of user TheRoachKeeper).
Perhaps even more strange is the appearance of the Toad; not only his tendency to play dead, but also a strange characteristic mark that runsdown their torsos… a black “T” that makes them appear to have already been dissected. No need to worry, our Pipa pipa, nor anyother you may come across, has not been loaned out to Dr. Frankenstein. This mark is just one of many things that make this toad incredibly unique.
The coolest thing about this species though is that they are not endangered despite all of the issues with deforestation in their home region. One of their cousin species, the Myers’ Surinam Toad, a native of Panama, is unfortunately.
Our newest addition is so new that it doesn’t have an official home yet, but we’ll keep you updated so as soon as it makes her debut you can come see this Toad-ally awesome creature. (C’mon, that was punny…)
Until then, come visit Twinkie, Frank, and the rest of the gang!