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European Green Toad Fact File

Bufotes viridis

Credit: Public Domain

Weight

18-77g

(0.04-0.17lbs)

Length

4.8-12cm

(2-5in)

Lifespan

Wild 14 years

Captive 14 years

Diet

Carnivore

Invertebrates

Conservation Status

IUCN

Least Concern

The European green toad is as their name suggests a native of Europe where they are primarily considered common. Unfortunately they are already extinct in Switzerland despite ongoing reintroduction attempts.

These animals are carnivores which feed on a wide variety of land-dwelling and aquatic invertebrates.

Females are attracted to a mate by his call and the pair may go on to produce as many as 2,000 eggs each breeding season.

Considered common across their range the European green toad is still threatened by pollution and habitat alteration.

Read on to learn more about these amazing amphibians.

Appearance

What does the European green toad look like?

Across their body the European green toad is covered by skin which is primarily white or brown. This is patterned with green patches which have a dark outline. Inside of these patches are a range of red spots. This pattern is not present on the underside.

Their skin is moist across the body.

The head features a rounded snout and a pair of large golden eyes are present. In the center of these is a black, horizontal pupil.

Females tend to be larger in size and have brighter green coloration. The male has a larger vocal sac so he can call during the breeding season and the throat is bluish in color.

An average European green toad will measure 4.8-12cm (2-5in) long with a weight between 18 and 77g (0.04-0.17lbs).


Diet

What does the European green toad eat?


The European green toad is a carnivore. These animals will feed on a range of invertebrates both on land and in the water.

European Green Toad

Credit: Public Domain

Range

Where can you find the European green toad?

Europe is the native home of the European green toad. Here they can be found in the following countries – Albania; Austria; Belarus; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czechia; Estonia; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Italy; Kazakhstan; Latvia; Lithuania; Malta; Moldova; Montenegro; North Macedonia; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia and Ukraine.

They are confirmed to be extinct in Switzerland with their current presence in Denmark and Sweden is uncertain.

An introduced population of the species is found in Spain.

Habitat

What kind of environment does the European green toad live in?

These animals are recorded from forest, shrubland, grassland and wetlands. They can persist in urban areas including city parks and gardens.

Their habitat is often near a body of water including swamps, ponds, lakes and pools. Artificial watercourses such as reservoirs and ditches are also used.

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Reproduction

How does the European green toad produce its young?

Breeding season is variable across their range. It tends to fall between February and July.

At the beginning of this season they will gather at a spawning area. Males gather here first and begin to call in hopes they will attract a mate.


Unusually these frogs are able to feed in both fresh and brackish (semi-saline) water.

If they are successful the female will release her eggs and the male will fertilize these as they emerge. As many as 2000 eggs may be laid by each female.

Tadpoles will feed on algae and detritus. During the day they tend to remain close to the shore.


Sexual maturity in this species is highly variable. In some areas they reach this at 2 years old compared to others where it can be as late as 5 years old.

Behavior

What does the European green toad do with its day?

European green toads are primarily crepuscular or nocturnal. During the day they will seek shelter in a den which helps to maintain the humidity they need to survive. Throughout the breeding season it is more likely for them to be active during the day.

Much of the time of the European green toad is spent in a burrow underground.

These amphibians are highly tolerant of heat and show a tolerance to desiccation (death due to losing water). To keep cool they will sit in shallow water.

They will enter a period of hibernation in cold areas of their range. They may not complete this in the south of the range where temperatures are warm enough year round.

European green toads will regularly shed their skin and go on to eat it.

European Green Toad

Credit: Public Domain

Predators and Threats

What is impacting the survival of the European green toad?

Natural predators of the European green toad include snakes, birds of prey, wading birds and some mammals. Tadpoles face more predators including the larvae of invertebrates and crustaceans.

When threatened they are able to let out a defensive cry and can also produce a foul odor from their parotoid gland.

These animals are considered relatively abundant in their range. In Switzerland they are considered extinct even though reintroduction efforts have been ongoing.

Their populations are threatened by the loss of breeding habitat primarily through wetland drainage, pollution and vehicle strikes.

Quick facts

The European green toad is also known as the emerald toad.

The viridis portion of their scientific name is a Latin reference to their coloration. European green toads are part of the family of true toads, bufonidae.

A group of these toads is known as a knot.

European Green Toad

Credit: User:Скампецкий, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

References

Verhoef-Verhallen, E., 2006. The complete encyclopedia of wild animals. Netherlands: Rebo International.

Monaco Nature Encyclopedia. 2021. Bufotes viridis – Monaco Nature Encyclopedia. [online] Available at: <https://www.monaconatureencyclopedia.com/bufotes-viridis/?lang=en> [Accessed 21 October 2021].

Aghasyan, A., Avci, A., Tuniyev, B., Crnobrnja-Isailovic, J., Lymberakis, P., Andrén, C., Cogalniceanu, D., Wilkinson, J., Ananjeva, N.B., Üzüm, N., Orlov, N.L., Podloucky, R., Tuniyev, S., Kaya, U., Stöck, M., Khan, M.S., Kuzmin, S., Tarkhnishvili, D., Ishchenko, V., Papenfuss, T., Degani, G., Ugurtas, I.H., Rastegar-Pouyani, N., Disi, A.M., Anderson, S., Beebee, T. & Andreone, F. 2015. Bufotes viridis (errata version published in 2016). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T155333A86444583. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-1.RLTS.T155333A74514442.en. Downloaded on 22 October 2021.

Gonefroggin.com. 2021. European Green Toad (Bufotes viridis) –. [online] Available at: <https://gonefroggin.com/2020/01/14/european-green-toad-bufotes-viridis/> [Accessed 22 October 2021].

AmphibiaWeb 2021 Bufotes viridis: Green Toad <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/312> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Oct 21, 2021.

Kidadl.com. 2021. European Green Toad: 13 Facts You Won’t Believe. [online] Available at: <https://kidadl.com/animal-facts/european-green-toad-facts> [Accessed 22 October 2021].

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