Just been exercising the dogs. Ambled up the lane out the back and down the track past the recently cleared forest. Walked through the old wood down the bottom and then headed back, detouring through a field. Spotted what I thought were some rat holes and noticed a slight movement in one of them. Bent down for a closer look and stared straight into the eyes of a toad with a head about the size of a golf ball. He (or she) didn't seem too bothered and simply reversed down the hole - not a lot, just a bit. Didn't want to disturb him (or her), so I wandered on. Seemed strange for a toad to be living in a hole. How the hell do they dig with those flappy paws? Maybe they don't - maybe they just move into rat holes when the rats move out. This lack of knowledge drives me mad. Made a mental note to look up toads when I returned home.
Just Googled 'toad habitat'. Seems they live in crevices and burrows. Gives rise to the questions 'what is a burrow and what's the difference between a burrow and a hole?' I presume a burrow is just a natural shelter in the ground, whereas a hole is something that's been dug. But maybe they're the same thing. After all, rabbits live in burrows that are very definitely holes. So..., having witnessed a toad living in a hole, the next question is one I raised earlier: how the hell did he (or she) dig the damned thing when all they have at the end of their flappy arms and legs are fingery things with the consistency of soggy spaghetti? With a hand-held small chip of stone, perhaps? If so, these bastards are cleverer than I thought - up there on a par with apes, chimps and other animals such as otters, all of which use rocks and sticks as tools.
Cor, I dunno. So much to learn and so little time. So much in this world still remains a mystery to me even after sixty-odd years. Talking of which, toads apparently live for forty or fifty years. Amazing.
A Winters's Harvest
1 week ago