Thousands of tiny Western toads on the move here

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Western toads gather on plant stems as they prepare for their mass migration into the forest. (Photo: Ingrid Barrentine/Northwest Trek Wildlife Park)

EATONVILLE — Thousands and thousands of tiny Western toads are swarming out of wetland pond and making their way into a Pierce County forest to begin new lives.

“Anywhere from a dozen to four dozen adult toads come out of the forest and into the pond to breed in late March or early April,” said Jessica Moore, conservation program coordinator at the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, which maintains the pond and is one of a few Western toad breeding sites in Pierce County.

But one female can lay thousands of eggs.  Once they’re fertilized and hatched, there are literally tens of thousands of new lives, Moore said.

The tadpoles eventually metamorphose into tiny toads, or toadlets, and begin their migration onto land.

Over the past few weeks, they’ve been huddled at the edge of the pond, piled on top of each other and swarming over logs and rocks as they prepared for their big move.


(Photo: Ingrid Barrentine/Northwest Trek Wildlife Park)

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