By Nadia Ali. The natural habitat in Trinidad is full of frogs and snails and puppy dog tails – no, make that toads as big as whales. Yes, toads as big as whales! The larger than life toads resemble something that hopped out of prehistoric times. The one in my backyard can barely jump because of weight issues and stares without blinking regardless of how many of my camera flashes goes off in his face! The toad species is known as a cane toad and locally called a crapaud. Its scientific name is “Rhinella Marina” and Google reinforces the reference I made to size as it states it is a “giant neotropical toad”.
The rough-skinned amphibian has moved into my blissful garden causing havoc in the morning and scaring me in the night.
Most mornings when I water my little herb garden in the backyard, the chive stems are bent and some crushed into the soil, as if someone specifically came to stamp down on the chive.
While I knew it was something in Mother Nature’s world – I figured it must be a frog but it wasn’t until I bent over to lightly pull on the broken chive that I spotted a huge flat crapaud sunken into the soil staring at me. Needless to say, it caught me off-guard and I stumbled backwards trying to get away.
Crapaud – who was I going to call? The Toad Busters!
Yes, I know it is a member of our local ecosystem, but surely is there somewhere else, anywhere else, it can live?
Upon finding it, I did what any person with a sound mind and mental agility would do – I ran for my handy dandy camera. Running out of the garden, through the house and again through the house and into the garden. Had he gone? Would I be able to capture a photo of the not-so-handsome frog’s relative? Who was I kidding? It was still there, half sunken in the soil. It was definitely unglamorous, slumped in the dirt with eyes barely open. I outstretched my hand holding my camera so as not to get too close to its wart covered skin and limbs – not even Harry Potter would want to get close to this toad!
It seemed unperturbed, uninterested at the prospect of having his photo published in a magazine – I am sure his American cousin Kermit would have literally jumped at the chance. But the Trini crapaud remained slumped in the dirt. Was he just biding his time so he could go and crumple the chives again?
I continued snapping photos of him when I noticed he gave me a half smile! No doubt hoping for a fabled kiss so he could turn from one of Central’s carefree crapaud’s into a dashing prince. With my camera in hand, the only thing ‘dashing’ was me back into the house and grabbing my phone – who was I going to call? The Toad Busters!
October 2015 – Issue 18 www.sweettntmagazine.com
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