Silver Poison Toad
|Silver Poison Toad|
|Official Name||Silver Poison Toad|
|Common Nicknames||Mercury Frog, Grey Wart|
Gazing into the jungles of Fendarfelle, one can easily sense glistening metal far in the swamps. Most travellers know better than to investigate, for those gleaming pieces of silver are likely to be Silver Poison Toads, sitting in their marshes, unafraid of anything that might hunt them, for they will enact their bowel-ripping vengeance from beyond death. From the time the explorers of Fendarfelle first set foot on the continent, this seemingly harmless creature has always been a mystery. Even today, the toads fill the swamps and wetlands of Fendarfelle by the dozen, colorful, but unthreatened due to their toxic nature.
When Ithanian explorers took to exploring the jungles of Fendarfelle in 214 AC, various bizarre animals took their attention. Included in their initial discoveries was a small toad that gleamed like a coin when approached. While easy enough to catch, and even cook, the toad got its vengeance on the men later that night, as they were struck with powerful pains in their stomachs. Over the following decades as the Regalian Empire and Ithanian Sovereignty expanded across the coastline, the small but deadly amphibian became well known to many. Today, the toads still dot the marshes of Fendarfelle and the prospect of catching them for their glitter is enticing, but dangerous if used as a source of food.
Despite its coloration, the Silver Poison Toad looks fairly mundane. Most specimens are small enough to fit into an Ailor's cupped hands, and grey lumps coat the frog’s back and legs. What separates the toad from other of its species is that its skin constantly glistens a dull grey color, and when agitated or scared, this grey brightens to a deep silver color. When it's skin changes to this color, the warts on its body start to seep a poisonous liquid, which takes the appearance of liquid metal. This toxin is an irritant, which causes a mild to moderate swelling and burning sensation on exposed skin. However, if some creature is unfortunate enough to eat the frog, the toxin goes to work on causing debilitating indigestion and vomiting. This toxin is largely present in all parts of the frog, making it wholly unsafe to eat; for when killed, the frog’s poison glands release their toxins into its blood. Various alchemy-based and natural remedies are enough to calm the indigestion, but an aching feeling in the abdomen will persist until the toxins are totally purged from the system in three days.
The species is dimorphic, with males consistently smaller than females. Males have also been observed to have an overall shinier look to them, with the females looking just slightly more dull in coloration. Male toads are very territorial, and will fight with other males, with one sole exception. In the presence of a female, the males will tolerate each other’s presence, for none of them want to be hurt during this time. This is because the female picks a mate depending on who among a grouping of males has the most pleasant looking hide, and when two of those males fight, it will tarnish their appearance and greatly reduce their chances of being selected.
Lifespan and Development
In the wild, most of the toads can expect to live about five years. In an ideal, controlled setting, they have been observed to live up to fifteen.Their lifespan is greatly reduced in settings closer to the southern border of Fendarfelle, due to the lower temperatures of northern Ithania. Each spring, male toads will gather in search of one or more females, and after mating, will scatter. The eggs are laid in ponds and marshes, where after one year, they will hatch into tadpoles. The tadpoles are as small as an Ailor’s finger, each of them like a mottled gray minnow. After a few months, the tadpoles grow legs, and their tails shrink, while their skin takes on a more silvery color. At this point, they emerge from the water, and become terrestrial. The toad has a lifespan of about four years after emerging from the water, during which it will hunt insects and small rodents.
While the toad can be domesticated, they have an innate skittishness to them, and combined with their toxic skin, most people choose to simply let them remain in their habitats. It is not hostile towards any species in particular, although anything larger than the toad will scare it and cause it to puff up its body and begin shimmering.
Territory and Groupings
The toad occupies the marshlands and jungles of Fendarfelle, where they gather in and around pools of water. The toad is mostly territorial, with males in particular fighting each other, or otherwise asserting dominance through greater size. They do need warmer climates to persist, and this has kept them from migrating towards any mountainous or snowy regions.
- Were it not for the fact that the toad is so unpleasant to eat, it could serve as a staple food source in the Fendarfelle Colonies. Many prospective chefs have tried to make it safe, but none have had much success.
- The toad is known to make a high-pitched, raspy chirping noise, and entire marshes full of them erupt into chorus on particularly warm moonlit nights.
- Some alchemists and experimental doctors have started using the toad’s toxins as an irritant to stimulate vomiting in patients to expel more dangerous poisons. Oddly enough, the silvery stuff tastes sweet and slightly sour, making it easy to ingest. On the way back up is another story.