Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. Giant toads can reproduce year-around, though most breeding is in spring and summer following rains. On rainy nights, the males can be heard giving their characteristic puttering trill, sounding much like a tractor engine idling in the distance. A single female may produce 10,000 to 30,000 eggs in a season in jelly-like strings that are often wrapped around submerged objects. The eggs are laid in temporary pools and can even survive in brackish water. Eggs hatch within two to five days depending on water temperature, and young begin consuming algae and other aquatic vegetation. Both the eggs and the shiny black tadpoles that hatch from them are poisonous, helping to assure their survival. Giant toads grow rapidly and within two months can leave the water as hungry, half-inch toxic toads that begin eating tiny insects. They quickly grow and expand their diet to larger creatures. Females usually don't reproduce until their second year, but these toads have few enemies because of their poisonous skin secretions, and an individual can live as long as ten years.'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.