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[All pictures of garden wildlife on this page are thumbnails. Click on any thumbnail for a large format to be displayed.]

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Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

Taxonomy
Kingdom:Phylum:Class:Order:Family:Genus:Species:
AnimaliaChordataAmphibiaAnuraBufonidaeBufoB. bufo

There is a significant resemblance between toads and frogs which is not a coincidence. They belong to the same family of Amphibia.
Some people might not consider toads as handsomly built or appealingly kissable. Their hind legs are much weaker than those of the frog and consequently they do not jump as well as frogs do. Toads have a dry, rough skin, often with lots of warts. This skin is capable of preventing drying out much better than the frog's. Toads therefore can survive in much dryer environments. Hence they often live in areas devoid of water such as woods, heather fields, etc. Most toads are nocturnal animals, which is another feature that distinguishes them from frogs. They become active at dust and hunt for invertebrates (snails) and insects the whole night. When threatened some toads produce a very stinking substance from the glands on their body making them unappealing for most enemies. Thus there are no edible toads. So far the only species regularly visiting our garden is the Common Toad.



Male Common Toads are much smaller than the females. The males are some 8 centimeters (3.1"), while the females may reach some 13 centimeters (5.1"). In March toads mate and the eggs are deposited in water. Toads often travel a long distance to reach water. This is often the same spot where they were born. Frequently the males cling on to the females' back and have themselves carried by her much bigger body. The eggs are not deposited in clusters like frogs do, but in (long) lines. The larvae remain very small indeed and leave the water in June or July. Young toads often stay together the entire first year. It takes them as long as four years to become adults.

Toads may live for a relatively long time, some reach the age of 10 to 15 years! Even though toads are clumsy jumpers, they are excell in swimming and digging. Hibernation starts very early in autumn. In september or october toads dig a hole under a log or among the roots of trees and disappear till the the hibernation ends. By the beginning of March toads become active again.

In the bottom pictures a very young male. The top pictures are of the much bigger and rather plump female.
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