Odious and Peculiar

Philology and esoterica: scribblings, ravings and mutterings.

O&P's Current Pick:

Forging the Sampo

Odious' Links:

The Little Bookroom
The Pumpkin King
Larissa Archer
Inverted Iambs
Eve Tushnet
Pamela Dean
Kambodia Hotel
Pen and Paper

Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary
Deep-Sea News
NASA's Mars Website
Classics Online
Perseus Digital Library

Nine Scorpions
The Blithe Kitchen
Letter from Hardscrabble Creek
Arts & Letters Daily
About Last Night



Chas Clifton's Nature Blog
Rock Art Photo Blog
Girl on a Whaleship
Nature Lyrics Languagehat
Jabal al-Lughat
Laputan Logic
Strange Maps
Vladimir Dinets: Polymath Russian Adventurer
Virtual Tour of Almaty, Kazakhstan
Aerial Landscape Photography
USGS Earth As Art
Panoramic Aerial Maps of the American West

The Internet Bird Collection
Bird Families of the World
Ancient Scripts
The Aberdeen Bestiary Project
The Cephalopod Page
The Ultimate Ungulate
The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire
USGS Streamflow Data

Worthy Miscellany
Finno-Ugrian Music
Boojum Expeditions
American River Touring Association

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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.


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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