Surinam toad is a fantastic kind of toad which you may not believe in when you first look at them. You would not even think if it’s a toad, leaf, or rock on your first view. They are utterly motionless in the water. Regarding these toads, this is the thing, the Surinam toad’s body is entirely flat, the head shape is triangular, and even the nostrils are present at the very edge of the two tubes.
The Surinam toad skin is also very rough and muddy, and the color is usually between grey-brown or olive. The toad’s front legs consist of fingers containing a structure similar to the shape of a star, and that is why they are also known as “star-finger toad”.
Apart from the appearance, the most spooky and fascinating thing about this toad is its reproductive behavior. You may get freaked out after listening to this, but it is imposing too.
Surinam toad birth
However, giving birth to babies may not a pretty experience for everyone, but looking at a Surinam toad giving birth to its child may make everyone stop and watch.
The female Surinam toad gives birth to the newbies by following a totally different method. Unlike other toads that first lay eggs and then nurture them.
The Surinam female keeps the eggs really close and does not put it in any water body. The Surinam toad keeps her eggs under her skin until they can hatch.
How the eggs hatch is another creepy story; as soon as the rainy season starts, the male toads come out and begin to find a mate. Toads do not make calls for attracting the female toad. On the other hand, they use their hyoid bone to make sounds.
If a female gets attracted, she allows the male to get over her and start the breeding process. Once the grip is firm, the male and female stay in the same position for more than twelve hours.
In this process, both partners remain attached together and begin to do somersaults in the aquatic habitat. At the same time, they are upside down. The female releases some eggs, the male grabs the opportunity, fertilizes the eggs and puts them back in the female holes.
The female Surinam toad can hold sixty to a hundred eggs at a time, and her back begins to appear like a swollen honeycomb.
Once the eggs are hatched, the babies inside start to push their hands out, and they find their way out of the female holes.
Slowly, all the babies come out from their mother’s holes fully mature. The central fact is that the babies do not come out as tadpoles, which are the traditional way; instead, they sprout out as developed toadlets.
The tadpole stage has already been completed in the mother’s back. The method aids the new one to come out safely as a proper toad in the world. The toadlets are also able to find food as soon as they are born. They also need no parental care after they are born.
Surinam toad care
Surinam toads look fascinating in the aquarium; however, they need special treatment and care as pets. Most of the frogs are wild-caught, and they undergo a lot of stress and traumas before reaching the aquarium or tank.
Most of the Surinam toads appear motionless, and they do not start to eat if and only if they begin to feel safe. Due to these situations, it is complicated to tell if a Surinam toad is suffering from tension or depression.
Unless the toad is comfortable in its new environment, it is better to hold the toad in a towel.why? Because at night, it may jump, which can result in injuries. Make sure to bind the towel on the screen’s top with clips so that even when the toad tries to escape, it will be safe because of the towel.
The temperature range for the Surinam toad should be between seventy-eight to eighty Fahrenheit. Make sure that you do not expose the toad to drastic temperature changes. Always be slow while changing their environment. Also, keep changing the water or adding the new water in the old one. Dramatic and abrupt temperature changes can lead to serious health issues.
Size of the aquarium:
Having a deep and giant aquarium is very good for your Surinam toads. Sometimes, they do better in a shallow environment. However, they are best in deep aquariums. At a minimum, an adult Surinam toad will need almost a twenty-gallon tank. However, if you have a thirty-gallon tank, it will be best.
Bedding or substrate:
Surinam toads are very violent when it comes to feeding. They may eat the gravel along with their prey. So, it is much better to leave the aquarium barefooted. In the wild, the Surinam toads live on sand, mud, and stone gravels. However, these toad species are very immune to galloping everything. Once upon a time, they were found to be swallowing a stone that is big enough to be consumed in their mouths.
Surinam toad lifespan
Surinam toad or Pipa pipa are highly aquatic amphibians that mainly live in ponds and murks. Females are bigger than the males, having a size of one hundred to one hundred and seventy-one millimeters, whereas the males have a length of one hundred and fifty-four millimeters.
The Surinam toads have leaf-like flat bodies and triangular heads. Their bodies are covered in black spots, and the colors are usually mottled brown, olive, green, and grey.
The Surinam toad has very tiny eyes that appear more like beads, and they also do not have any lid. Surinam toads have broad flipper shaped feet. The front limbs are short, and the fingers have star-shaped structures. These fingers are their main distinctive feature from other amphibians. The lifespan of Surinam toads or Pipa pipa is almost seven years.
Surinam toad baby
Surinam toads are unrealistic creatures with fascinating baby producing techniques. The male grasps the female in a position known as “Amplexus.” The female swims while the male holds on her tightly, which is a process very unfamiliar to frog or toad breeding.
The skin or the dorsum of the female becomes challenging due to the secretions of the hormones. The female, while doing somersaults in the water, releases one egg at a time. The male fertilizes the egg, and then he places the egg back in the female’s holes.
In a single breeding process, the female can conceive almost a hundred eggs in her back. Once they are developed enough, they start to come out from their mother’s back one by one through the holes.
Surinam toad reproduction
Not similar to the other toads, the Surinam toads have very different mating procedures. The males do not produce calls; instead, they make a clicking sound to attract females.
The female responds to the calls and releases the eggs into the water. The male fertilizes the eggs, and then he has to put the eggs back in the holes of the female present on her back.
After the eggs have been fertilized, the female keeps the eggs right under her skin, and they start to grow. The back of the female starts to grow fur and hence the back looks like an egg-filled honeycomb.
After completing the egg-tadpole stage, the young one remains under the skin of the female. This process takes three or four months until the young ones are completely developed.
Once they are developed, the new toadlets push the female’s skin and come out right from her back. The toadlets’ feet first come upon the ground.
The toadlets are able to eat right after they are born. They don’t care even if the food has to be their own siblings. The female then shreds off her mature skin and prepares herself for the new breeding season.
Surinam toad pet
Surinam toads are readily available at aquatic shops, pet shops, and you may also find them at exotic amphibians or reptile stores. Surinam toads are easy to have pets with zero or low maintenance.
They are also easy to feed, and their behavior is much similar to a pet fish. Like for a fish, you do not have to do a lot of care. The same goes for the Surinam toad. Surinam toads have zero to none habits, they literally do nothing the whole day, and they are good with it. They stay at the bottom of the aquarium for several days and do nothing unless they have to come up for breathing purposes.
In another case, when the toads depict motion is when they have to eat food, they simply swallow up their food, and they return to their original position. I know, you may be thinking, then why do we have these Surinam toad pets? Well, their great autonomy and fascinating breeding experience is a treat for eyes to watch.
Surinam toads can munch upon anything they come through. Their favorites include goldfishes, worms, frogs of their own species, guppies, comets, etc. you can place several water plants in the vivarium. Most of the time, frogs like to hang in there. You can also add substrate in the tank; however, it is of no use because the frogs also eat the substrate along with their food, and they do not need it.
If you want to have a pair of Surinam toads, then a thirty-gallon tank will be enough for them. You have to fill the three-fourths of the tank with RO(Reverse osmosis), it will help you get the neutral pH balanced water.
The water temperature should be between seventy to seventy-five Farhenheit. If you live in a hot place, you may not even need the temperature regulator. You also need a water filter that can be completely submerged in the water. A clean water tank is very important, and you have to maintain the water quality and keep it free from any kind of debris.
Instead of using live plants, you can use artificial plants that are readily available at pet shops. Live plants get rot, and you have to take care of two things; the toad and the plants.
Surinam toad eggs
Surinam toads, unlike other toads, do not release their eggs in the water. Instead, the female is responsible for carrying the eggs. After fertilizing the eggs, the female is responsible for maintaining the eggs right beneath her skin. The eggs stay there while they grow. Actually, after fertilization, the male puts the eggs into the holes of the female. As a result of breeding hormones, females produce hard skin and keep the eggs in it.
Females are capable of holding sixty to a hundred eggs during a single breeding procedure. The eggs complete the tadpole stage in the female holes, and they come out as complete developed toadlets. These toadlets can readily eat anything right after birth and do not need any further care from any of the parents.
Surinam toad facts
Below are some fantastic facts linked with Surinam toads:
- Surinam toads have flat bodies with triangular heads.
- The forelimbs of the Surinam toads contain star-shaped structures; therefore, they are also known as star-fingered toads.
- These toads have tiny eyes, with no lids, which are also present at the triangular mouth edges.
- In the wild, it is hard to identify a Surinam toad because they look exactly the same as a rotten or fallen leaf.
- Unlike other toads, they do not sit. However, these toads are always in a position where they look like they are just lying flat.
- Surinam toads bear suction feeders. They do not have any sort of teeth or tongue, they utilize their fingers to search for food, and they just grab the prey and swallow them whole.
- Surinam toads do not possess smooth, glowy skin; instead, they have a very bump skin with a hard texture. The female, before the egg-laying process, mainly releases such hormones that help to harden her skin.
- Surinam toads are modified for the aquatic lifestyle, and therefore they are capable of holding their breath for up to one hour. They have to come occasionally at the top to breathe.
- Surinam toad calls are not similar to the other toads. They produce unique and specific sounds using their hyoid bones present in their throat.
- Surinam toads do somersaults while having intercourse, and they release eggs while they are in the upside-down position.
- Female Surinam toads hold or incubate the eggs in the holes present in their backs.
How do Surinam toads reproduce?
Male toads do not attract the female by making croaks. On the other hand, the males attract them by producing calls under the water. The male fertilizes the egg released by the female Surinam toad. The female can endure sixty to a hundred eggs in her back. After development, the new babies come out of the female’s back as a wholly developed toadlet.
What is unusual about the egg development of Surinam toad?
Unlike other toads, which develop their eggs in a waterbody, the Surinam toads fertilize the eggs into the female’s body. The female back has a honey-comb like structure which grows skin over it, and it keeps the eggs there in that structure. Each female produces sixty to a hundred eggs. As they come out, they make a ripple-like movement on the female’s back.
Which animal is the Surinam toad?
Surinam toad is an aquatic toad; however, people know it as “Moniker toad” due to its rough and moldy appearance. The toad appears like a flat leaf, having a spay like body with a triangular-shaped head. These toads have unimaginably tiny black eyes present at the edges. The female gives birth to the new toads from the eggs present on her back.
Where do the Surinam toads live?
Surinam toads inhabit the whole South American range, with their habitat being slow-flowing streams and rivers. They are primarily present in the Amazon basin. These toads instinctually prefer such streams with zero flow or those that are very turbid because they do like to stay in the water, and they occasionally come up for breathing.