March 15, 2017 - What is a toad to do if it needs to breed but can’t find a pond? California toads (Anaxyrus boreas halophilus) in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area recently faced this dilemma. They typically breed every spring, finding ponds or pools by scent after hunting insects on land for most of the year. As the recent drought wore on, such pools became scarce. Without sources of still water, toad pairs cannot deposit and fertilize their eggs.
For the last three years, the Mediterranean Coast Inventory & Monitoring Network's aquatic amphibian monitoring team found only one or two places with evidence of breeding toads. Most toads, though, had little choice but to postpone breeding. If what followed is any indication, their determination to reproduce only grew more urgent.