A common toad, commonly known as European toad, is one of the species of toads. Found mostly in England, Scotland and Wales, these live in fields, woodlands and in damp areas. It is characterized by short legs, stout body and thick skin. These carnivores reptiles crawl on their legs rather than hop like frogs. The skin has a warty appearance and can vary in colors, ranging from olive greens to orange browns. The underside of the common toad is white or grey, while the eye has a horizontal pupil that is copper in color. A common toad’s color differs depending on the color of the soil of its habitat. It is grey in color if the soil is of a grayish color, while the toad can be brownish if the soil is more brownish. Read through the following lines to know more interesting facts and amazing information on common toads.
Species: B. bufo
Group Name: Knot
Length: 8-13 cm
Weight: 20-80 g
Lifespan: 20-40 years
Habitat: Cool and moist places.
Age of Sexual Maturity: 4 years
Gestation Period: 10 days
Number of Offspring: 600-4000 eggs
Interesting & Amazing Information On Common Toads
- The common toad is widely found throughout Europe, except north Scotland. The range extends from Scandinavia in the north to northwest Africa and from Poland to Lake Baikal in Siberia.
- Common toads are absent from many Mediterranean islands, such as Crete, Malta, Corsica, Sardinia, the Balearics and Ireland.
- Toads use their eyeballs to swallow their prey.
- Common toads tend to walk rather than hop, as opposed to the common belief.
- They are night hunters and are most active in wet weather.
- To protect themselves from enemies, common toads secrete a toxic, foul tasting substance called bufagin, which deters many predators, though grass snakes and hedgehogs remain immune.
- Common toads live in a wide range of habitats, including gardens. They are found in large water bodies, woodlands, scrubs as well as rough grasslands.
- The young common toads feed on ants and other small flies, while the adult common toads eat invertebrates such as insects, larvae, spiders, slugs, worms, small reptiles and rodents. The larger toads can eat small grass snakes and harvest mice, which they swallow alive.
- They hibernate in the month of October, usually under deep leaf litter, logs, timber piles, or in burrows and drainpipes. They emerge from hibernation around March, after which they migrate to breeding sites.
- Common toads have warts all over their body.
- These have bulges or glandular areas called parotid glands on the back of their heads.
- When common toads feel threatened or suspect danger, they inflate themselves and stretch their legs to make them look larger. This behavior of theirs is like a defense posture against predators.
- Common toads urinate when in danger to get rid of the extra water in their body so that they can quickly make their escape.
- A common toad’s belly is lighter than the rest of its body and some of the species have spots too.
- Common toads have no teeth and swallow their food in gulps.
- A common toad catches small preys using their tongues, whereas large preys are caught with their jaws.
- They feed on any dark and small objects in motion.
- Common toads shed their skins on a regular basis and often eat the dead skin.
- They can remain still for many hours at once and are also difficult to identify as these can blend in easily with the environment.
- Common toads have a strong migratory instinct and they follow the same route back to ancestral breeding ponds each spring.
- Although common toad is usually a solitary animal, in the breeding season large numbers of toads converge on certain breeding ponds, where the males compete to mate with the females.
- During mating, male toads clasp the females in a special hold known as "Amplexus". They remain like this for a few days as the female lays her spawn.