Common Plains Toad
|Common Plains Toad|
|Official Name||Common Plains Toad|
|Common Nicknames||Moss Crawler|
|Habitat||Temperate areas of Regalian Archipelago and Ithania|
Known for their rather camouflaged features, Common Plains Toads came from Ithania and ultimately infested the fields of Anglia and beyond. However, concerted efforts by local farmers have limited the numbers of these creatures so they no longer threaten the local ecosystem. They are considered to be the most lethargic out of all the Alorian amphibians, slow to move and lazy in feeding. They are often found gathered in bunchings in rainy weather and storms, known for hiding beneath trees to blend in during the harsher weather.
The Common Plains Toad has a fairly recent history in Aloria, likely overlooked for much of their existence in some minor corner of the world. Most believe their origin to have been an isolated region of Ithania, but it is impossible to know due to a loss of information. All that is discernible is that a scholar returned from a trip outside of the Regalian Archipelago in 116 AC with several of the creatures for study back in his homeland of Anglia. Unfortunately for him, the animals escaped and promptly began to multiply en masse, devouring smaller plants, algae, fungi and even smaller creatures within the regions, driving some species to near-extinction. Fortunately for the scholar, whose name was struck from the record and his credentials seized for almost dooming Anglian agriculture, the Anglian people were crafty in the way of animals and the hunt. The frog’s numbers were greatly reduced due to help from alchemists, and they settled in as another aspect of the ecosystem. In 150 AC, when the Regalian Empire opened formal ties with Ithania, scholars found the Toad there as well. However, the species was deemed a natural part of regional food chains, thus leading to the assumption that the man went to Ithania. Since that time, the Common Plains Toad has been a feature of the wild but also domestically as, due to their lethargy, the toads make quaint pets for those who enjoy the creature’s dull attitude.
Common Plains Toads are long and slender amphibians, measuring around five inches in length and one and a half inches in width. Their heads are elongated and flat, with a smooth arrow-tip structure. Their small eyes are a vibrant yellow or orange color with black pupils, and they possess long, hooked tongues, able to impale insects and some small mammals. Its body is considerably flat as well with a barely-present neck between its body and its head. Their legs are elongated and rather chunky, carrying four webbed digits at the end of each and their back hosts a slight hunch toward the beginning of the toad’s neck. Their skin is a deep brown color, peppered by green, hairy lumps that grow in small clusters which often give the Toad the appearance of a bit of bark-covered moss. This adaption means they blend in fairly well with the swampy terrain they usually live in, escaping the eye of most predators. When caught by those that hunt and eat them though, they secrete a grey-tinted liquid-like oil from their skin and growths. This liquid tastes like rotten fish and leaves a bad taste in the mouth of anyone, animal or sentient Race, who tries to eat one alive.
The Common Plains Toad has limited diversity, though the species does possess certain gender differences. Females are significantly rarer, at a ratio of seven to one when compared to males while the eyes of females also tend to have a green tinge to them.
Life Span and Development
Common Plains Toads reproduce through laying as many as 100 eggs into the waters they call home. Ultimately, only a third of these eggs ever survive past their initial state. For the first three months of their lives, they develop from eggs to tadpoles, then finally grow their legs and lose their tails. Upon the loss of their tails, they begin to gain brown pigment in their skin. After those two months of further development, the toads begin to show signs of their first lumps and start to gain their so-called “camouflage.” At this time, they begin to leave the water more frequently and become capable of living on land. They are also considered to be adults at this stage. The Common Plains Toad lives only a few years in the wild, the oldest dying at the age of four, though many fall victim to the keen eyes of predators despite the bad taste. When they die naturally though, their “camouflage” lumps erupt, causing a strangely sweet scent to fill the air around them. The animal does live longer when cared for by Humans in confined environments, reaching around the age of ten.
Rather apathetic and lethargic creatures, Common Plains Toads don’t regularly hunt and often find themselves eating fungi or the leaves from small plants and algae. Though, on occasion, they do manage to snatch up a beetle or two with their extremely long, ejectable, hooked tongues. They respond oddly when in the presence of Izu-Allar, often following them around when they see them, males regularly letting off mating calls to Izu-Allar even if that individual is a male themselves. This phenomenon is sporadic though since few Izu-Allar would ever visit a land whose inhabitants would likely try to kill them. As for the actual animal, they can be considered a good first pet for young children, as they are easy to take care of and many parents use them to teach their children some responsibility.
Territory and Groupings
The Common Plains Toad usually lives in small groupings of twelve or so Toads. They are not territorial and will not attempt to defend their nesting grounds against anything beyond creatures smaller than themselves. They spend very little time doing anything but sitting still, watching the world go by and eating, though, during rainfall, multitudes of these animals are spotted within nature, nestling beneath trees together and emitting a quiet squeaking sound, though, in full chorus, they can be quite the pests and often are known for waking people during thunderstorms in the evenings.
- Common Plains Toads are often killed, smoked, and cooked as snacks on sticks for rural festivals, the smoking process removing their predatory deterrent taste.
- In 256 AC, a Common Plains Toad was found at an Imperial Feast, leading to a Kade finding himself a new and rather boring pet. However, it was noted to be the oldest living Common Plains Toad, living to the ripe old age of fifteen.
- The Alchemy used to control the Common Plains Toad's original population explosion supposedly involved a complex poisoning of their bloodlines to make females rarer. Scholars outside of Anglia doubt it occurred, but the Anglians claim it as fact.