The common toad is covered by bumps with the skin colored brown or olive-green. In some sub-populations the male and female have different coloration.
The bumps which cover the skin are actually poison glands. Two of the largest bumps sit behind the head and are known as the parotoid gland.
On the underside they are colored light-grey or yellowish-grey with a pattern of dark spots across this.
Their eyes are colored copper with a vertical black pupil.
Males are larger than females. The males will measure up to 8cm (3in) long while females reach 13cm (5in) long. An average common toad will weigh between 10 and 100g (0.4-3.5oz).
Common toads are carnivores. Their diet is made up primarily of invertebrates though small animals such as rodents and reptiles may also be consumed. Ants are a mainstay of their diet.
Most of their food is obtained through a sit and wait method.
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Europe and Africa is the native home of the common toad. Here they can be found in the following countries – Albania; Algeria; Andorra; Austria; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czechia; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Gibraltar; Greece; Hungary; Italy; Kazakhstan; Latvia; Lebanon; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Moldova; Monaco; Montenegro; Morocco; Netherlands; North Macedonia; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation; San Marino; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; Turkey; Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
They make their home in forests, shrublands, meadows, grasslands and wetlands. Their breeding requires still or slow-moving water.
Some populations of the common toad are able to persist in urban parks and gardens.
Breeding begins in April when large groups of toads will gather at a breeding pool. Adult toads migrate away from the pond after a week.
Following mating the females will deposit their strings of eggs around an aquatic plant. These eggs will hatch after 10 days.
At hatching the young are a tadpole. These develop for 3-4 months before they metamorphose in to an adult.
Tadpoles have poison in their skin. This prevents them being eaten by fish which share their ponds with them.
Common toads enter a winter hibernation from October to November they will emerge from this in late February. Hibernation occurs under a log pile, stone or flower pot.
These animals are primarily active by night.
As a toad they tend to move around by walking rather than hopping.
Predators and Threats
Grass snakes, otters, birds of prey and hedgehogs will prey on the common toad despite the bitter taste.
When a predator approaches a frog it will raise up on its legs and face its head towards the danger.
These animals are affected by the movement of poison through the food chain. Poison can accumulate in their system from insects which they eat.
Large numbers will cross roads prior to the breeding season to reach their breeding ponds and this can lead to high mortality. When more than 1,000 toads cross at the same spot it is labelled a toad crossing.
Other threats presented by humans include habitat destruction and alteration and collection in small numbers of pet trade. Some populations have been impacted by the disease, Chytridiomycosis.
A common misconception is that touching a toad will lead to you also developing warty skin, something which is untrue.
Matvei Kiselev, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Middle One and Two
Holger Krisp, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Partonez, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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