Tenacatita

Tenacatita, a marine toad, surely secured the title of world toad traveler by the time she made it to San Diego in 1932 after her lengthy sea voyage.
  • 1930s
  • 1940s

Named for the village in Mexico from where she was collected, Tenacatita, an eight-inch-long toad, proved herself flexible in diet and strong in fortitude during her prolonged sail to San Diego. Discovered in the moist trunk of a coquita nut palm tree during the time of her dry season aestivation, the toad was stowed in a box with several inches of damp wood pulp in which to burrow for her voyage.

But life at sea was far too exciting to waste the time underground—and feeding her voracious appetite became a challenge. Scientists resorted to presenting her with whatever was available. “Bits of meat, fish, or crab, rolled down an inclined board, were snapped up with gusto; anything in motion was eaten,” declared a ZOONOOZ article. Passing through Ecuador, “there was a scourge of crickets, and Tenacatita lived high for a long time.” Never suffering from seasickness, the mighty marine toad even managed to take out one of several large tree frogs that (briefly) shared a box with her.

Upon arriving at the Zoo, the well-traveled (and well-fed) toad settled in nicely. She relished Jeruselum crickets and mice…and quail on toast. Tenacatita had certainly leapt a long way from life as a tiny black tadpole in a rural lagoon in Mexico.

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