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Archive for May 6, 2011

American Toads Trilling

From the edges of ponds the musical trills of male American toads have begun in earnest. Unlike birds, toads don’t set up and defend territories with their songs; however, like birds, they do use their song to attract a mate. By closing their nostrils and mouth, and pumping air over their vocal cords, these amphibians produce a very long trill – up to 35 seconds, which is quite long for any toad or frog call. You can hear toads trilling from quite a distance away thanks to their vocal pouches which are inflated in order to act as resonating chambers. Note that toads sit upright in the water when calling, so that their pouches are above the surface of the water and can fully inflate.