Odious and Peculiar

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010
 
Speaking of which, it's about time I blogged the new addition to the family:

Woodhouse's toad

I believe he's a Woodhouse's toad, though I stand open to correction if anyone knows better. Someone caught him wild and gave him to the store where we get our pythons' mice, and we decided he'd be happier with us than there. He's been settling in pretty well, and feeding him is great fun.

It's been a real challenge to find a name for him, though. We went through an awful lot of options: Gilbert, Timur, Chinggis, Killick, Jarbidge. We've very nearly settled on Belisarius, narrowly edging ahead of Ptolomy. We'll see if it sticks.

Labels:



Comments:
What a handsome fellow! Congratulations!
 
He does look like he could a well-fed Woodhouse, although his dorsal stripe is a lot smaller and less distinct than I'm used to in the populations I grew up around, and he doesn't appear in the photo to have much in the way of cranial crests. The true Bufo can be pretty difficult to distinguish--I ultimately gave up trying and decided that if it's a true toad (not a spadefoot), it's probably a Woodhouse.
 
The crest is more distinct in the flesh. The stripe isn't exactly bold, but it's definitely there, so probably well within the range of individual variation. Without any better candidates, Woodhouse still seems strong.
 
Are you sure it's a he? If it's a she-toad, name it Phryne. That's Greek for 'toad', and also the name of one of the great courtesans (hetaerae) of the ancient world. She made so much money from the profession that she offered to pay for the rebuilding of the walls of Thebes (her native city) when they had been destroyed by Alexander the Great, as long as the city put up a big sign saying "destroyed by Alexander, restored by Phryne the courtesan". (The city fathers turned down her offer.)
She was the model for more than one ancient statue of Aphrodite, also an opera of Saint-Saens, and is mentioned in poems of Baudelaire and Rilke. The National Press Club used to have a naked painting of Phryne on the wall (hmmmm - what is the connection between prostitution and the press?) but removed it under pressure of feminist members.
All in all, just the name for your beautiful pet, assuming it's a she, or may be.
 
Good suggestion, Dr. Weevil, and a new one for me. She certainly sounds like a character the likes of which Saint-Saens and Baudelaire would find appealing. The toad, however, vocalizes, which I understand is a good indication of batrachian masculinity. Belisarius is seeming like it may stick.
 
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