Where to find them
The common toad is a widespread amphibian found throughout
Britain. Common toads are
Common toads prefer deeper water bodies in which to breed. These may include farm ponds,
reservoirs, fish ponds or village duck ponds. Sadly
these types of freshwater body are threatened in many parts of the UK.
Common toads can grow to 8cm, and are
generally brown or olive-brown. The skin is ‘warty’ and often appears
dry. Glands in the skin contain powerful toxins and many would-be
predators learn to avoid eating toads. Toxins are also
present in the skin of the tadpoles.
Common toads have a strong migratory instinct
and will follow the same route back to ancestral breeding ponds each
spring. They congregate at these ponds in early spring, often a
couple of weeks after common frogs breed. After a relatively short
breeding period (often not more than a week) adult toads migrate away
being far more
tolerant of dry conditions than the common frog.
Common toads are most active
at night when they hunt invertebrates including snails, slugs, ants and
spiders. If they find a
good source of food they can become sedentary. Indeed they may often
remain in gardens for long periods in the summer months. Unlike the
common frog, toadspawn is laid in
strings (not clumps) and toad tadpoles are black and form shoals. Toadlets
can emerge from ponds in huge numbers during early summer, usually
after heavy rain.
the common toad is protected by law from sale and trade.