American Toads lay their eggs in double strings (one from each ovary) which can be three or more feet long and may contain 4,000 – 8,000 eggs. It doesn’t take long for toad eggs to hatch – just one week, or two at the most. The gelatinous strings begin to disintegrate, and tiny, dark tadpoles are released into the water. If nothing untoward occurs, the tadpoles will attach themselves to underwater vegetation or their egg mass for a few days, and hang vertically with their heads up.
Many aquatic predators, including Eastern Newts, consume both American Toad eggs and tadpoles. The pictured newt waited patiently nearby until tadpoles wiggled their way out of the gelatinous egg string and then immediately snatched and ate them. In another week toad tadpoles will be crowding the shallow shoreline water, and in two more weeks they’ll be metamorphosing into little toadlets.
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