Wondrous Wildlife of The Week - The Pebble Toad

by |September 9, 2011

Toad on Pebbles - Photo by Quinn Anya

The Pebble Toad

Organisms in the natural world are constantly striving to avoid predation. Some prey depend on morphological characters to outsmart a worthy predator, utilizing camouflage or mimicry to avoid detection; others must engage in battle, relying on agility or strength. The Venezuela pebble toad, however, has an extremely peculiar defense mechanism: it rolls itself into the shape of a rock and bounces haphazardly down a hill.

The pebble toad deploys the “rock and roll” strategy by folding its legs and arms under its body and then tightening its muscles, thus assuming a spherical position. These light weight amphibians then begin an epic descent down a declined surface, much to the disappointment of a hungry tarantula or snake looming above.

Though the toad is so tiny that it is a poor swimmer and jumper, its unique design reduces the force of impact as it makes its great escape into a safer crack or puddle down below.

Interested in learning more? Check out a YouTube video of the pebble toad in action, taken from the BBC’s “Life” documentary series.

Get our newsletter

I'd like to get more stories like this.
Email address
Secure and Spam free...

Leave a Reply

Notify of