Release the Toad!

by Carl Strang

The mansion at Mayslake Forest Preserve is a big building with a big perimeter. Its window wells can be pitfalls for small animals, for instance the skunk rescued by Nikki Dahlin a while back. Its many entrances offer opportunities for small animals to find their way in, as I told a few years ago in the story of the Phantom of the Mansion. Today brings another such story, this one bringing Nikki together with an American toad that turned up in the basement in the middle of winter. Nikki set it up in a small terrarium, where the Mayslake staff joined Nikki in caring for the little amphibian, feeding it worms and domestic crickets.

The weather warmed up to the point where Toad could be returned to the out-of-doors. Everyone hoped he would stay out of mischief this time (yes, that was a Wind in the Willows reference). We carried him down to the stream corridor marsh.

Nikki turned the terrarium on its side.

Nikki turned the terrarium on its side.

Toad waited a while before hopping out onto the moss.

Toad waited a while before hopping out onto the moss.

We were impressed when Toad immediately slid his or her hind legs under the moss and wriggled down in until he or she was mostly covered.

We were impressed when Toad immediately slid his or her hind legs under the moss and wriggled down in until he or she was mostly covered.

With this reminder that Toad had all the instinctive tools needed to carry on from there, we were content to say goodbye.

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