Flattest toad

In Suriname there is a species of toad that looks like it has been flattened under a rock: it grows up to twenty centimetres long, but only reaches a couple of centimetres high.

I, Christophe cagé [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The common Surinam toad is a weird one. It looks like roadkill, even when alive. It looks like a deflated plastic toy. It looks like a steamroller victim. It’s almost completely flat, is what I’m trying to say. In fact, it’s the flattest toad in the world… the flattest amphibian in the world, too. (I did not know that this was a record to strive for, by the way, but nature finds a way.)

The Surinam toad has no tongue. I suppose it doesn’t have room for one. It has tiny eyes on the front of its flat body. It looks like a fallen leaf – extreme camouflage to deter predators?

Its extreme flatness isn’t even the weirdest thing about this weird toad. Those of you who have been reading for a while know that I’m a bit obsessed with unorthodox incubation techniques: in the mouth and in the stomach. The Surinam toad’s offspring incubate in little pockets on their mother’s back. Like, the eggs are embedded into the toad and must burrow their way out once they are fully grown.

I have not attached a photo of this, because it looks really gross and may trigger trypophobia (about which I may write later). Have a look in the Wikipedia article below if you really want to… but not around dinner time.


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