Common Toad

Britain’s largest amphibian, males are about 65mm, females 90 mm They live in damp log piles, leaf litter, fields, hedgerows, gardens and woodlands They eat worms, slugs, spiders, caterpillars, beetles, snails wood lice, ants, and incredibly, newts, young frogs and even mice!
Colour - varies according to the colour of the soil in their habitat - can be grey/brown, with an off white underside They spend most of their life on dry land

Like frogs, toads don't hibernate as such, but they are inactive over winter burying themselves in mud, under compost heaps or amongst dead wood.

In late spring they come out and on mild damp evenings and will head to their breeding ponds, using the same routes every year. Jock keeps an eye out every year, and sure enough they always appear, though their numbers have gone down.

The females lay strings of spawn, wrapped around vegetation. 2-4 weeks later the black tadpoles hatch out. After about 16 weeks, just like frogs, they start to grow their back legs, then their front legs. Once they have absorbed their tails, the tadpoles leave the water as toadlets.

In spite of producing a nasty tasting toxic milky substance when they feel threatened, toads make a tasty meal for hedgehogs, stoats weasels, rats, crows, magpies.

If you are interested in finding out more about toads please try some of these links.

What’s the difference between a frog and a toad?

To tell the difference between a frog and a toad you should look at,

  • Skin - Toads are warty looking, covered with wee humps and bumps and nearly always have dry skin; frogs are smooth and always look wet.
  • Legs - Toads have shorter legs and like to crawl, frogs have long legs, perfect for hopping.
  • Shape - Frogs are slim and athletic looking; toads are squat and dumpy.
  • Water - Frogs are rarely seen far from water; toads cope much better with dry conditions as their skin is more waterproof.
  • Spawn - Frog spawn is laid in clumps; toad spawn floats in stringy lines.

For more about tadpoles:

Toad (Credit Helen Rowe)
Toad and Frog Spawn (Credit Helen Rowe)

This is part of the Amphibians In Spring information.