Ms. Toad’s Wild Ride?
One of the Zoo’s early amphibian residents was Tenacatita, an eight-inch-long marine toad. Named for the village in Mexico from where she was collected, Tenacatita was discovered in the trunk of a coquita nut palm tree, and placed in a container with several inches of damp wood pulp in which to burrow for her sea voyage to San Diego. Apparently burrowing wasn’t on her agenda, however, because she remained active all the way—and hungry. Her human sailing companions fed her whatever was available, reporting that, “Bits of meat, fish, or crab, rolled down an inclined board, were snapped up with gusto; anything in motion was eaten.” Then passing through Ecuador, “there was a scourge of crickets, and Tenacatita lived high for a long time.” She never seemed bothered by the rolling and tossing of the ship, despite weeks at sea. She did pretty well once she settled at the San Diego Zoo, too—she was already a full-sized adult upon arrival, and she lived for 15 years at the Zoo.