Miracles of Weird: The Suriname Toad
By Lenny Pierce on March 14, 2014
If you thought the horror frog was the weirdest amphibian imaginable, wait until you meet the suriname toad. Though it doesn’t intentionally break its own bones to stab potential predators, the suriname toad has a elaborate reproductive strategy that will make you wonder if we’re still talking about a non-alien life form.
To begin the mating process, the male will signal his interest by making a series of clicking noises (the amphibious version of cat calls) and then grab onto the female’s back legs in a position called amplexus (froggy style). The toads will remain locked in this position for up to 12 hours. Wanting to keep things interesting over this lengthy afternoon delight, the couple will perform repeated somersaults underwater while embracing. Each time the pair is upside down, the female will release 3-10 eggs which the male will shuffle onto the female’s spongy back where they stick in place. Once secured to her back, the male will fertilize the eggs. This process will be repeated up to what must be an exhausting 18 times.
Once all the eggs have been secured to the female’s back and fertilized by the male – who quickly bails once the fun is over – the skin around the eggs swells and creates little pockets for the eggs to incubate in over the next 3-4 months. Then something really strange happens. Once the little toadlers are fully developed, they crawl out of their mother’s back and begin their own bizarre lives. This is a phenomenon of strangeness must be seen to be believed…