Line Line
Common Toad Bufo bufo

Toads do look like frogs very much. Most of them are not as elegantly built. Their hind legs are much weaker than those of the frog and consequently they do not jump as well as frogs do. Toads have a dry, rough skin, often with lots of warts. This skin is capable of preventing drying out much better than the frog's. Toads therefor live in much dryer environments, often far away from water, such as woods, heather etc. Most toads are nocturnal animals, this in contrary to frogs. They mainly hunt in daylight. When threatened some toads produce a very stinking stuff from glands on their body making them unappealing for most enemies. Thus there are no edible toads. So far the only species regularly visiting our garden is the Common Toad.

Male common toads are much smaller than the females. The males are some 8 centimeters (3.1"), while the females may reach some 13 centimeters (5.1"). In March toads mate and the eggs are deposited in water. Toads often travel a long time to reach that water, often being the same where they were born themselves. Frequently the males cling to the females back and have themselves carried by her much bigger body. The eggs are not deposited in lumps like frogs do, but in (long) lines. The larvae remain very small indeed and leave the water in June or July. Young toads often stay together the entire first year. It takes them four years to become adults anyway.

Toads may live for a rather long time: some 10 to 15 years! Even though toads are poor at jumping, they are excellent in swimming and digging. Hibernation starts very early indeed: in september or october toads dig a hole under a log or among the roots of trees and disappear from sight. But hibernation also ends extremely early: by the beginning of March toads are active again. Common Toads eat insects and snails.

In the bottom pictures a very young male. In the top pictures the much bigger and rather plump female.