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Surinam Toads



Surinam Toads
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.94

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    compartment, horn-shaped, merciless, oxygen-deficient, star-shaped, tongue-less, unattractive, commonly, ritual, pipa, definitely, mating, immediately, adhere, sponge-like, unique
     content words:    Amazon River, South America, Once Surinam


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Surinam Toads   

1     The Surinam toad, also known as "pipa pipa", is definitely not the prettiest animal on Earth! It has a very flat body about just three-quarters of an inch thick. Its skin is a grayish brown color. In fact, a Surinam toad looks like a floating dead leaf when it rests motionless in murky, sluggish water. But don't be fooled by the animal's ugly appearance and stillness.
 
2     Surinam toads are merciless hunters! We often see them in the Amazon River or other tropical streams in South America. Because they look like dead leaves, they have a perfect disguise. They only reveal their true predatory nature when fish swim by them unknowingly and come in contact with their long fingers. Surinam toads don't have webs linking the fingers on their two short, stiff front limbs. On the tip of each finger is a star-shaped organ that is very sensitive. Surinam toads rely on their fingertips to find their way around and to detect food nearby. Once Surinam toads sense the presence of a fish, they use their front limbs to shuffle it into their large, toothless, tongue-less mouths and swallow it whole! Like other toads and frogs, Surinam toads have a pair of powerful hind legs with webbed feet. If they decide to blow their cover and go for a swim, they instantly become competent swimmers.

Paragraphs 3 to 4:
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