Telling Toads

Telling Toads

Celebrate the wonder of Toads with a story, a poem or a personal anecdote

a noble toad from Ryvoan*
a noble toad from Ryvoan*

Have you a tale you could tell? A poem that could hop its way onto these pages? A new story that should be spoken? This is an invitation to celebrate the amphibians of the world, from the Frog in your pond to the Toad who creeps through the woodland, from the sheer excitement of a wriggle of tadpoles to the glory of a toad’s golden eyes. Join me for a celebration of Toads through words.


In this the Froglife Year of the Toad, here at Creeping Toad, I am inviting people to add their own creative ideas to a collection of Toad (and frog and tree frog,) stories and poems.  Initially, we will aim to encourage people to share these beyond the blog where they will appear, to read them aloud, to tell stories, declaim poems by ponds and generally celebrate Toads and their cousins.


not endangered and a very old pic but here is  a Leptopelis from Malawi
not endangered and a very old pic but here is a Leptopelis from Malawi

Amphibians are in danger. Of all the vertebrate groups, amphibians seem to be in the most perilous of situations as populations across the world dwindle before pollution and habitat loss and the ravages of infections they have no defence against. Froglife is a UK based charity that sets out to promote amphibian conservation through active habitat management and wider education. While, Froglife is UK-based, the issues facing amphibians are global and I hope that by sharing our stories and poems we might add a little more momentum to a wider awareness of the wonders of the amphibian worlds. The decision to launch a Year of the Toad campaign grew out of the research presented in a Froglife paper: while the wonderful (and not always sad) book In Search of Lost Frogs by Robin Moore is a great way of connecting to the issues confronting individual species across the Earth. Robin’s book is reviewed on this blog, here

B maculatus, Malawi 1984
B maculatus, Malawi 1984

I am not going to go into the conservation issues here. The Froglife website is a good starting point for UK folks and I am sure you can find local sites in other countries. Here, I would like to invite and challenge my friends in the storytelling, natural history writing and poetry worlds – and just about anyone who feels inspired – to drop their words into this Toad-pool. There are no prizes, probably no money, but I invite us all just to share our creativity because it is a good thing to do. Not because it is weak or feeble or over-privileged but because sharing rewards by its own action and if telling someone else’s story, reciting someone else’s poem can help excite a listener to look a little more closely at the frogs in the field, then we’ll be doing a good job.

sing of the joy of Toads!
sing of the joy of Toads!*

What we’re looking for

We’re looking for poems or short stories about frog and toads. These might be personal anecdotes, reports of your own adventures, retelling of ancient myths, or pieces catching what you find is the essence of toad-life. We don’t want scientific papers – but the personal experience of that study might give us rich words to share

No of words: to keep this under some sort of control: maximum number of words is 500


Other practical stuff

Nature of work: if your work is racist, sexist, or discriminates on the grounds of species, religion or gender identity, or comes across as simply offensive, we will reject it

The work must be your own original work: if it has been published before, at this stage that is OK as long as we have your permission to put it on a blog. If we build to publication we’ll need to revisit this. We will, meanwhile acknowledge the original publication if you include the details! In submitting your work, you accept that it might be published online and that this is acceptable to you. If the possibility of publication with remuneration develops, we will come back to you

Editorial control: I am the editor of the Toadwords collection and while I will refer to other writers for opinions, I will hold editorial control

Submissions language: English please! Unless there is someone out there who might want to run a parallel Spanish or other language version


What will happen

  1. First responses: initially, we’ll see what sort of response we get. First submissions will be published on my Creeping Toad blog. If submissions build up in numbers, we’ll set up a separate Toadwords blog or website.
  2. Growing numbers: If numbers and quality of work merits it, we’ll look at producing an online resource for people to tap into. Perhaps as a downloadable pdf. If there would be charge for this, we will contact authors about royalties and permissions
  3. As work comes in, selected pieces will also appear on the Froglife website and might feature in issues of the newsletter Natterchat



As word or plain-text attachments please to:



Froglife: and just so no-one can say they don’t know, yes I am not at all impartial. I like Froglife. I am one of their Trustee’s and think the whole Year of the Toad initiative is a good one for rattling a few cages (or splashing in a few ponds) and I have no qualms at all about saying that I think they/we are an excellent organisation


Newts, salamanders and caecilians: and no, we’re not ignoring the rest of the amphibian order, but as The Year of the Toad concentrates on Toads, this project has a tail-less emphasis. If you are inspired by slamanders, motivated by newts ot just excessively excited by the caecilian muse, send it in!


Photo credits:

These are all my pictures apart from * by Kenny Taylor




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