“Black and grey Venezuelan pebble toad bounces away from predators”

The best offense is a good defense.

This black and grey Venezuelan pebble toad bounces to the top of the list of great defense weapons. It seems this tiny rainforest toad (Oreophrynella niger) a little over an inch in length (3 cm) method of escape from his dreaded enemy the tarantula is to throw himself off the mountain top and bounce down the hill.

When threatened the toad folds its arms and legs under its body, tucks in its head and tenses its muscles, just like we used to do in PE class for tuck and roll. However, PE class never had us roll backwards off a hill – just to keep the story straight. The toad is so small and light that the forces of impact are too tiny to cause it any harm.

Why would they need such an extreme flight mechanism?

This pebble toad rests on an incline, where rolling is faster than jumping. Their jumping legs won’t win any races either. The hop is only about one inch in distance (2.5 cm). By rolling no tarantulas could catch them. Many times as they roll they will land in a crack or crevice where they are out of sight or difficult to reach. The toad’s coloration helps it blend in with its sandstone habitat. Pebble toad (Oreophrynella niger) Camouflage is another defense.

Check out this BBC One video showing this pebble toad in action. Click here.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of   http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/

Video courtesy of YOU Tube and bbcwildlife1

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