Bufo from Latin, simply means ‘a toad’. The Common Toad has very warty skin, and it is brown or grey, or olive-green in colouration, with a rounded snout and copper-coloured eyes. It also has a large parotoid gland behind each eye.
Photos: Adults and toadlets discovered in back garden, South Staffordshire. © Peter Hillman.
The female is generally larger than the male. The male calls by day or night with a croaky squeak which does not carry far. The female does not make any sound.
It hibernates underground quite a considerable distance from water, often in old rodent burrows from October through to February. In the spring it migrates back to the ponds where it was born to spawn and secure the next generation. This can be quite hazardous as many toads are killed crossing busy roads. The spawn of the common toad is easily distinguished from that of the common frog as it is laid in strings not clumps. Newly emerged toadlets are seen in June or July, usually after rain. The Common Toad puffs up its body when threatened to make it appear bigger than it actually is. It also secretes a nasty tasting substance through its skin to deter being eaten, and it is highly poisonous, even to humans.
A nocturnal hunter, it predates on invertebrates with its sticky tongue, eating worms, spiders, and insect larvae. Larger toads will also prey on small rodents, and also grass snakes and slow worms. Found in a wide range of habitats, from ponds, woodland, hedgerows, grasslands, and parks and gardens.
Class Amphibia (Amphibians)
Order Anura (Frogs & toads)
Family Bufonidae (True toads)
Species Bufo bufo (Linnaeus, 1758)
Length 60-90 mm.
Lifespan uo to 40 years.
Seen March to November, overwintering in hibernation.
Common and widely distributed throughout mainland Britain and the Channel Islands, but more localised in Scotland. In steady decline in the wild.