The Hartfield Toad, 1907

A somewhat curious find was uncovered in an Auchentibber Quarry in mid August 1907.

At Hartfield, Auchentibber the workforce of builder William Kerr were working in the leased quarry. They were about 35 down lifting stone out and up to ground level when the strange affair took place.

Upon lifting a large boulder out, they were curious to hear it sounded hollow and so they decided to break it open and were astonished to find a fully grown toad inside. However, what made this more remarkable was the toad was quite alive and able to move!

The rock with exception of a small hairline crack had been quite solid and so it was the last thing anybody expected. Many workers gathered to witness the mysterious spectacle. Questions were soon asked. How long had this unfortunate toad been trapped inside this stone? How old was it? How did it get there?

Unfortunately, the reptile only lived a short time, seemingly uncomfortable in the brightness of daylight, but had it chosen to live longer, it would have no doubt been cared for, such was the interest.

In the days which followed, Mr Kerr was told of the find in his quarry and sent the remains of the toad, not to be cremated, but for examination. This was also a unique change for nature lovers to provide their own suggestions and insight into how it got there.

Googling this in general brings up quite a surprising amount of other cases throughout the ages , including the similar one pictured which was found in England. A general consensus is that frog spawn or young tadpoles had somehow travelled into the quarry water table in the soft limestone and got into the hollow nook through a hairline crack. Over time, enough water and minuscule nutrients also got in through the tiny crack, enough to maintain and grow the toad it its tragic, dark hellhole. It is said some toads found in these circumstances had been in those tiny, enclosed spaces for years until found. Not a particularly pleasant story, but interesting nonetheless.

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