It’s a race to the finish. In the last warm little sun-pools of the monsoon rains, toad tadpoles are growing legs as fast as they can. Ravens and garter snakes have gobbled most of them, but a few laggard babies are still working on pedestrianism.
The cold is coming. The tiny survivors need to tuck up somewhere against the frosts.
Toes & Toads
The rains have come, and with them the toads. The pools of the Syncline were full of bright red mud-water, tadpoles and predators. A slim—but no doubt well fed—garter snake with a black head took to the opaque slurry, then poked its head out like a sea serpent.
In a drying pothole were many toadlets so small they looked like insects, not a quarter inch long. They had finished their lightning metamorphosis, but at the bottom of the hole was a gelatinous pudding of polliwogs that hadn’t grown up fast enough. Now and then there was a tiny squirm or shudder from someone in the black mass, a last effort at life.
Betsy James on Writing, Art, and Walking in the Desert