One Student’s View: Free Todd the Toad

The Detriment to Todd the Toad Outweighs the Learning Opportunity for Students


Todd the Toad on display in an NDP science class (Katelyn Eberle/Special to The Seraphim)

By Katelyn Eberle, Special to The Seraphim

Imagine an extremely large hand swooping down into a happiness-filled home and plucking away its inhabitant from its friends, family, and entire life. Not only is its lifestyle uprooted, now the frightened being is thrown into a totally new and confusing environment. This is the horrible encounter experienced by Todd the Toad during the first week of the 2017 fall semester at Notre Dame Preparatory. Todd, the innocent toad, should be released back into his natural habitat and never should have been captured in the first place.

Life in captivity is dangerous for both Todd and the students and faculty at NDP. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly recommends not interacting with non-domestic animals because they can carry diseases, including Herpes B, harmful bacteria, Rabies, and Salmonella. The National Humane Society stated, “Tens of thousands of people get Salmonella infections each year from reptiles or amphibians.” By having an amphibian in a classroom full of people, the risk factor for Salmonella heightens. It is also crucial to consider the risk factors for Todd.

According to researchers at Penn State University, frogs gain their nutrients through multiple food sources, such as earthworms, crickets, slugs, beetles, ants, flies, bees, wasps, spiders, tics, mealworms, snails, etcetera. All of these foods are necessary in a healthy toad’s diet. At NDP, Todd is only fed crickets. In the long run, this will catch up to him and he will suffer from malnutrition. In addition to lack of a proper diet, toads in captivity, such as Todd, are deprived of socialization that is necessary for their well-being. Often when observing a captive toad, signs of stress become present, like head bobbing. They are also frequently overweight and depressed.

On the other hand, Todd is just a toad. Having him in the classroom is beneficial for the student’s learning. What is one toad’s life compared to approximately 200 students being able to better expand their knowledge of anatomy and biology? Dr. Schmidt, a high school biology teacher at NDP, stated, “Todd is beneficial to have in class so that students can understand and know about responsibility of taking care of animals as well as animal adaptations and habitats.”

Dr. Schmidt also noted, “Todd is a native to Arizona, so students are also learning about native organisms and animals that live in the desert.” Granted, a live animal in the classroom can enhance a student’s education. At first glance, it seems like an accepted practice. Yet, students can learn just as much, if not more, from textbooks, videos, and diagrams of toads. By letting Todd go, NDP students can kill two birds with one stone (without killing anything at all). Todd will be a healthy and free toad, while at the same time, students are not at risk for disease.

In conclusion, Todd the Toad should be released back into his happy home. A life in the classrooms of NDP is unfair and unjust for both Todd and those surrounding him. Keeping a wild and non-domestic animal in a high school biology class is not right! Todd needs to be released before it’s too late for him.