This turned, for the most part, into three of us running, swatting frantically, and M (who, just like her dad, is never attacked by ravening swarms of bloodthirsty insects) strolling along behind untouched, and telling us where to swat next.
In between bursts of flailing, we turned over a few logs to see if we could round up some bugs for Toady. Instead, we found salamanders!
Now, some of you are probably wondering why we're excited about this. Here's why: we have been trying to find one since K was 4 or 5 (about 15 years of searching) and for some reason have never come across one before now! Yesterday, they were under every log, in multiples!
So naturally, we brought some home to observe.
This involved hastily buying a new tank, because it turns out that although normally they live in harmony with toads, in captivity they become a potential snack, as we discovered when we tried to put them in with Toady.
Aren't they gorgeous? These are examples of the Northern Redback Salamander, as far as we can figure out.
In other news, Toady continues to gorge himself and grow rapidly.
He also likes to stroll over and sit in his water dish unmoving for a good hour at a time. D wanted to know a) why he sits there like that, and b) why we are giving him only filtered water instead of tap water. Both good questions, so we did a little experiment to demonstrate the answer.
I explained that amphibians such as toads, frogs, and salamanders drink through their skin, instead of through their mouth like we do. We took a sponge and D put it into a bowl of water to see how it soaked it up just like Toady's skin.
Then we talked about how any "bad stuff" (toxins, poisons etcetera) can be absorbed too, and that we have to be careful to give him water that isn't going to harm him. To illustrate this, we took another sponge, added food colouring to the water to represent poisons, and put the sponge in.
D was horrified when he thought about poor Toady sucking up "bad stuff" like that!
What creatures are you observing right now?