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 Post subject: How deep do toads dig?
PostPosted: August 16th, 2010, 9:46 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:52 pm
Posts: 2288
Location: Amarillo, Texas
My water line busted, and we've got plumbers out here right now...one of them turned up a woodhouse's toad about 2' down. I'd always been under the impression their burrows were relatively shallow, like a few inches, but this fellow was way the hell down resting on the water pipe. Does anyone know of any studies about just how deeply they burrow and maybe population density? They've found 3-4 just digging out to the spigot to run a temporary line, all of them fairly submerged. I've known I had them around--I know at least 4 individuals (one of which is gigantic, nearly fist sized). But I had no idea there were that many in my yard.

I'm gonna digging a 50' trench afterwards (to knock money off the bill I'm digging the rest of thel ine out myself) and plan to record how many I find underground and at what depths...that'll take my mind off the blisters at least :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: How deep do toads dig?
PostPosted: August 16th, 2010, 10:07 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:05 pm
Posts: 840
Location: Kansas
I can't site any studies, but my magic conjecture answer is: They dig in direct correlation with environmental conditions.

For example: In spring when it is cool and wet, they likely stay close to the surface where temps and moisture are optimal, while in summer they may burrow deeper to find those conditions.

In winter it is the same. They burrow up or down in response to changes in temperature to maintain optimal conditions.


Dan


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 Post subject: Re: How deep do toads dig?
PostPosted: August 16th, 2010, 10:27 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:44 pm
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Location: Ventura, CA
Hopefully forum member "Schell" will chime in. He's told me of some mind-boggling depths but I don't want to quote from memory. You might try PMing him.


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 Post subject: Re: How deep do toads dig?
PostPosted: August 16th, 2010, 11:32 am 
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 8:33 am
Posts: 454
Location: SF Bay Area
Haha! How did I know I'd be called out on this. Well superficially I found this reference, although I've heard some accounts of them being found deeper, but I'd rather not publish here-say if I can't come up with a reference for it. It sounds like these are the exception and most are within 1 meter of the surface.

"There is a case where a spadefoot was found 15 feet below the surface (Bragg, 1965)."
Bragg, A.N. Gnomes of the Night. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1965.


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 Post subject: Re: How deep do toads dig?
PostPosted: August 16th, 2010, 12:31 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:32 am
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Location: Delaware
Toads are darn good diggers, enough so to get below the frost-line for the winter.


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 Post subject: Re: How deep do toads dig?
PostPosted: August 16th, 2010, 12:34 pm 

Joined: June 9th, 2010, 3:10 pm
Posts: 80
Not trying to change the subject, but in retrospect does anyone know how deep Heterodon spp. will dig in search of toads? I've heard accounts of several inches but not much beyond that.


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 Post subject: Re: How deep do toads dig?
PostPosted: August 16th, 2010, 1:13 pm 
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Joined: June 27th, 2010, 12:27 pm
Posts: 963
Location: Terlingua / Marfa, Texas
Matt J wrote:
Toads are darn good diggers, enough so to get below the frost-line for the winter.


Frost-line? What's that? Hahaha. Down here, the frost-line is generally considered to be one inch. In truth it is probably less. The heat line on the other hand is probably over a foot. If you don't bury your water lines deep enough, your "cold" water will be nearly as warm as your hot water in summer.

Down here, I'm assuming they either need to dig nearly two feet OR find a shaded and vegetated location that holds the humidity and cooler temps at shallower depths.

I'm wondering if the ones that Paul found were drawn there by an undetected slow leak in that water line.

I guess the short answer is, "they dig as deep as they need to". That need will be determined by humidity, temps, soil conditions, and probably some other less obvious factors. As for the one reported to be 15 feet down, I suspect it didn't truly "dig" that deep. It likely took advantage of burrows, fissures, or other pre-existing voids. The ground in many places out here is full of all sorts of small voids.


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 Post subject: Re: How deep do toads dig?
PostPosted: August 16th, 2010, 3:54 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:13 pm
Posts: 2222
Location: Minnesota
BradB wrote:
Not trying to change the subject, but in retrospect does anyone know how deep Heterodon spp. will dig in search of toads? I've heard accounts of several inches but not much beyond that.


We have found H. nasicus ~18" below the surface in the summer (and I am sure they go deeper than that). In the winter our frost line is ~3-5ft deep, so they need to dig deeper than that.

-Chris


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 Post subject: Re: How deep do toads dig?
PostPosted: August 16th, 2010, 4:00 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:52 pm
Posts: 2288
Location: Amarillo, Texas
city code says lines go 2' down so that's where they go here...never had one freeze.


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 Post subject: Re: How deep do toads dig?
PostPosted: August 16th, 2010, 7:43 pm 

Joined: June 11th, 2010, 8:09 pm
Posts: 502
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
haha, we have to burry our water lines 6' deep here. I've heard that the spadefoots have no problem digging 1m deep, so perhaps that's average?

Ian


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 Post subject: Re: How deep do toads dig?
PostPosted: August 16th, 2010, 8:16 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:05 am
Posts: 177
On an semi-related note, anyone see that note on the Bufo bufo they caught on camera 300+ft below the surface in Loch Ness? Pretty sure it was in Herp Review. Now thats a cool find.

-JJ


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 Post subject: Re: How deep do toads dig?
PostPosted: August 16th, 2010, 9:14 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:19 am
Posts: 1938
Location: Redding, CA
Crotalus wrote:
On an semi-related note, anyone see that note on the Bufo bufo they caught on camera 300+ft below the surface in Loch Ness? Pretty sure it was in Herp Review. Now thats a cool find.

-JJ


Is that what Nessie feeds upon?


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 Post subject: Re: How deep do toads dig?
PostPosted: August 16th, 2010, 9:48 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:44 pm
Posts: 2572
Location: Ventura, CA
We don't have to bury our hot/cold water lines here and there's no such thing as a frost line. :P


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 Post subject: Re: How deep do toads dig?
PostPosted: August 17th, 2010, 4:30 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:13 pm
Posts: 2222
Location: Minnesota
Crotalus wrote:
On an semi-related note, anyone see that note on the Bufo bufo they caught on camera 300+ft below the surface in Loch Ness? Pretty sure it was in Herp Review. Now thats a cool find.

-JJ



I saw this. It was in Herp. Rev. a couple of years back.

-Chris


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 Post subject: Re: How deep do toads dig?
PostPosted: August 18th, 2010, 8:54 pm 

Joined: June 11th, 2010, 8:09 pm
Posts: 502
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Wow that's in sane. What was it doing down there? I've never thought of bufo as aquatic beyond breeding endeavors.

Ian


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