Sadly the Common Toad is becoming much less common, probably because of a loss of breeding ponds and disruption of its migration routes.
It prefers breeding in deeper waters but lives away from water the rest of the year, hibernating in deep leaf litter, log piles and at the foot of hedgerows. It can live for up to ten years.
The Common Toad has a broad, squat body and warty skin. It varies in colour from dark brown, grey and olive to sandy, has golden eyes and tends to walk rather than hop. It produces a toxin from a pair of glands on its back which makes it distasteful to would-be predators.
The Common Toad eats insect larvae, spiders, slugs and worms and larger toads sometimes prey on Slow Worms, small Grass Snakes and Harvest Mice.
Largely nocturnal, the Common Toad is most easily seen on mild nights, although sometimes it can be spotted in daytime, usually after heavy rain.
Unlike most amphibian species, Common Toads like ponds with fish. This is because their tadpoles are poisonous to fish which gives them a greater chance of outcompeting frog tadpoles. The tadpoles look similar to Common Frog tadpoles but can be distinguished by their shorter tail and bulkier head. Toadlets usually emerge from ponds during August, when they start feeding on small insects like aphids.
To Learn More
Visit Peterborough-based charity, Froglife.
Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018