Common toad is an amphibian creature capable of living on land as well as in water. It is of the same family as that of frog but has several distinct features, allowing one to differentiate between them. Common toad has short legs, stout body, and has thick skin with warty appearance. Interestingly though, the colour of its skin does not remain same, but changes, depending upon the soil of its habitat. Therefore, in grey soil regions a common toad would have grey colour, and in brown soil regions, one can find brown coloured common toads. Common toads are mostly found in Europe, and have a number of distinctive characteristics to catch attention of scholars and researchers. Find out some interesting and amazing information about common toads in the section below.
Common Name: European Toad
Binomial Name: Bufo bufo
Species: B. bufo
Diet: Carnivore (insects, spiders, earwigs, earthworms, snails and slugs)
Length: 5 to 8 cm (males) and 6 to 9 cm (females)
Weight: 20 to 80 gm
Life Span: 20 to 40 years in wild and up to 50 years in captivity
Age of Sexual Maturity: 2 to 3 years
Gestation Period: 10 days
Colour: Black, Green, Grey, Brown, Yellow
Skin Type: Permeable
Habitat: Forests, woodlands and marshes in Europe, Asia, and Africa
Average Clutch Size: 1500 (some can lay up to 5,000)
Predators: Foxes, Grass Snakes, Hedgehogs
Interesting & Fun Facts About Common Toad
- Other thanIceland,Irelandand some parts of Mediterranean, a large population of common toads can be found in Europe, as well as in some parts of Northern Africa and Asia.
- Size of a toad largely depends upon its gender; female common toads are larger than the males. An adult male common toad can be of 8 cm whereas an adult female common toad can grow up to 9 cm.
- The common toad has a pair of paratoid glands located behind its eyes and has horizontal pupil. Their eardrum, also called as tympanic membrane is not visible.
- Typically, toads are of brown colour, but can have skins of several other colours as well, ranging from black to green and yellow. The skin colour changes as per the surroundings, especially during the breeding season. Its skin is rough and warty with, glands having acrid fluid called bufagin inside them. This acrid fluid acts a protective agent for common toad from its predators
- Toad and frog though belong to same family, do have several different characteristics. For example, a frog has smooth skin unlike toad, which has dry and uneven skin.
- In wet weather, common toads are one of the most active creatures, along with frogs.
- The tailless solid-bodied amphibian, common toad, has long hind limbs which help it in jumping. Although they prefer walking than jumping.
- The adult male toads are seen croaking at times, whereas female toads do not make any sound.
- Their favourite food is insects, particularly flies. However, they are also known to feed on small rodents which they can swallow, and ants, earthworms, spiders, snails and slugs. However, they do not have teeth and swallow their catch whole. The abundant supply of food makes them sedentary.
- Generally, common toads inhabit terrestrial places, preferably near water bodies, like wet woodlands, marshes and meadows, scrubs and rough grasslands, and parks and gardens. They seek aquatic regions, especially ponds, to mate.
- The process, when toads mate, is known as spawning. It takes place in water. A successful mating pair will move over to the pond, the female will release the double string of eggs and the males fertilize them by releasing their sperm. This string is known as toadspawn.
- The eggs of common toad are found to be of small round jelly-like ball shaped with black coloured centres.
- It then takes about 8 to 12 weeks to develop, after which their metamorphosis (gradually transforming from tadpoles to adult common toads) takes place. These tadpoles feed on micro organisms to flourish and because of being foul-tasting, are protected from attacks from fish.
- A baby toad is known as a tadpole, which differs in its appearance from tadpoles of a frog, in the sense that toad’s tadpoles have larger, blacker heads and shorter tails.
- Most of the common toads go underground during daytime and come out in the hours of darkness to catch their prey. Hence, they are nocturnal in nature.
- On the onset of winters, mostly in the beginning of November, common toads start looking for places to hibernate and spend the winters, either singly or in a group. Some of the places where they hibernate are deep leaf litter, logs, timber piles, abandoned burrows and drainpipes.
- A common toad ejects urine when picked up. In threatened situations, it stretches its legs and expands its body to daunt its predators by its appearance. Whereas a wounded tadpole releases a substance in the water which signals other tadpoles about the danger so that they can flee away in time.
- A common toad has a number of predators including grass snakes, hedgehogs, foxes, cats and birds which kill it to get their meal. However, if a toad does not get caught by its predators then it can live up to 40 years.
- IUCN has declared it as having stable population trend and has listed it under least concern category.