TOAD

Common toad (Bufo bufo) on mossy rock, Cairngorms National Park, Scotland.

when I was nine, I had a pet toad. I’d found him up in near the frog pond at the top of the lane. He had been hiding under a rock, and knowing where they hid, I found him and took him home in my pocket. I made him a home in a small goldfish bowl. It’s misunderstood by people that amphibians need to be kept in water, but they don’t. Although newts spend most of their time in ponds, frogs and toads tend not to spend all their time in water or near it, but are most commonly seen in water in the spring when they are mating. So the aquarium he lived in had a little water in the bottom but he lived in the grass and under the stones which I had placed in there for him. I fed him on earthworms and he seemed quite happy with his environs. All went well until I decided to take him to school with me for a show and tell. I took him in a cornflakes box damp at the bottom and straw with a sprinkling of mud to give him cover. Of course when I got to school the teachers were aghast. They made me take him to the far edge of the playing fields and let him go. I was enraged. Teachers! Why did they have to mess everything up?

I grumped and grumbled around all day and when the end of school bell went, I rushed off to where I’d left him and quickly re-captured him. I took him home and rather than keep him in captivity, I decided to let him loose in our back garden. He continued to live in our garden for years. He could be found under the garden shed. I don’t think he ever felt the call of the wild, or felt the urge to go and mate. I just know that he stayed in our garden for years. My mum used to despair as I would bring back all kinds of fauna and flora. I once got a moorhen egg to hatch out in our airing cupboard, I only managed to keep it alive for a couple of days, I couldn’t find out what they were supposed to eat. Bread and milk was not the answer.

The point of this little story? We used to be left to our own devices as children. We were allowed to play out and have our own adventures. We learned life lessons from this experience. Do computer games allow the same opportunities?

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