Tangle of odd string photographed in Arizona water is hiding eggs. What critter laid it?

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You’re at a stream or lake, and you look down to notice a string of sorts tangled in the water.

You wonder: What could it be? Is this a rope? How about a snake or worms? Could it even be some litter I should pick up?

What some people may not know is that tangled thing in the water could be a string of toad eggs.

What is that?! It's a toad egg string! This is how toads lay their eggs. Frogs, on the other hand, lay their eggs in...

Posted by Arizona Game & Fish Department on Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Arizona Game and Fish Department said Thursday that unlike frogs, toads lay their eggs in a long string that wraps around itself in water.

“Frogs, on the other hand, lay their eggs in masses,” Arizona wildlife officials said. “So seeing a string like this immediately tells you you’re looking at toad eggs.”

When toads lay their eggs, they aren’t just laying one. Some types of toads can lay thousands of eggs at one time, according to wildlife experts. The cane toad can lay up to 35,000 eggs at once.

It’s hard to see a string of toad eggs because they’re often covered up by sediment, which makes them tough to spot. They can also wrap around plants within the water, according to Florida wildlife experts.

“Covered or not, eventually cute little toady tadpoles hatch,” Arizona wildlife officials said.

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