This time of year the ground is still pretty cold here, and it’s not unusual to find toads buried deep into the soil. If we have any digging to do, we dig very cautiously. So that’s why a few days ago I was using my hands and a small trowel to dig a hole for the hosta I was planting. We’ve really worked hard on improving the soil in this particular garden, so it is rock free, soft, and easy to dig.
I was making great progress digging the large hole I needed when suddenly I realized that I was holding a soft, moving “something” in one hand. So I did what any normal person would do under those circumstances and let out a piercing scream. Everyone came running over to see what had happened. Unfortunately, one of our neighbors was walking past just as I screamed, and he was curious too.
Several minutes later, after the explanations had been made and my level of embarrassment had lowered a bit, I went back to planting my hostas. And somehow, even though I had already dug up one toad, and I was fully expecting that I might find more… when my hand closed on another soft, moving body, I screamed again!
As luck would have it, the neighbor had finished his walk and was on his way back past our house again and was just opposite me when I screamed. This always dignified and very reserved elderly man was so startled he actually jumped into the air, which made him almost as embarrassed as I was. This time he didn’t stay around to ask for an explanation!
I’m not the least bit squeamish at handling toads, and I’m not normally a screamer, but somehow feeling a soft toad body moving and pulsating in soil that shouldn’t be moving is scream provoking, even if you’re somewhat expecting it to happen.
Because it is still cool, the toads aren’t fully active yet, and eventually they burrowed back down into the soil. It’s fascinating to watch them sink out of sight… it looks like they are disappearing into quicksand.