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A few days ago I was heading into the house when I noticed two toads hanging out by the steps. As I approached they bolted into a gap between the steps and the walkway. I had wondered where they made their home and was glad to see they had made a wise choice.

We always have a few toads around, including the monstrous Mr. Toad. He is simply enormous and I have on a few occasions been royally startled to see him peering at me from under a bush. He seems benign enough but his unblinking stare is unsettling.

The toad population disappears during the winter. I assume they do some kind of hibernation behavior. Though as I wrote that I had a sudden vivid image of them heading south for the winter…slowly hopping down the road…gulping noisily…pausing to poop every now and again (they are prodigious poopers, a biological factoid that never ceases to surprise me, I don’t know if all toads share this trait but ours certainly do).

Recently I spotted one of our toads trying to insert himself into a crack in the sidewalk. He was a pretty stout fellow and when I first saw him he appeared stuck halfway. I gave him some space  to resolve the problem. I wasn’t looking forward to getting involved. I couldn’t see how my tugging on him to free him would in any way have a positive outcome.  But even from a distance he seemed distressed, waving his arms around and trying to propel himself further in. I was sympathetic to his plight. I have had similar experiences with trying to get into a pair of too tight jeans. I went inside for a few minutes and when I came  out he had amazingly enough reversed himself and now it was his rear end that stuck out of the crevice and his hind legs that waggled wildly in the air. I approached again and he stilled. I couldn’t help thinking he must have felt like it was just one of those days as he remained stuck between hither and yon. Every once in a while he would tentatively stretch one leg out and give a slight heave. The gesture had a slightly resigned quality to it. I debated taking action and again walked away hesitant to cause him any harm through my clumsy efforts. I checked in again a few moments later and he was gone. Either he had managed to power himself down into the crack or he had given up on the whole thing and gotten himself free.