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Toad

All about toads

Toads are one of our most familiar amphibians, but have declined greatly in numbers due to a number of causes.  Many of their usual breeding places are disappearing as ponds become filled in or polluted because of housing development or intensive agriculture. Large numbers of toads are also dying on the roads, especially as they make their way to their breeding sites in spring.

What to look for

Although quite similar to frogs, toads grow larger, up o 15 cm long, and appear more flattened than the frog. They also have a dry and bumpy, or warty, skin.

Did you know?

  • Although toads mostly eat insects, nails, slugs and worms, larger animals may even eat slow worms, small grass snakes and harvest mice!
  • Toads tend to live in drier places than frogs as they have better developed lungs for breathing air and skin which does not dry out so easily. On land toads tend to walk rather than leap, except when they are disturbed.
  • During mating, the smaller male clings onto the female ready to fertilise the spawn as soon as it is laid by the female.
  • Toad spawn forms long strands which look like bead necklaces winding around aquatic vegetation in deeper water. It takes six to eight weeks for the small black tadpoles to become toadlets.
  • NEVER collect spawn from the wild or take it back into the wild from garden ponds. This can deplete the wild population and spread disease and invasive, non-native plants.
  • You can help by providing places in your gardens where toads can hide from the sun and keep moist in summer and be protected from the cold in winter. Log piles, rockeries, compost heaps and areas of dense vegetation are all useful for this purpose.
  • If you do build a pond to attract frogs or toads, make sure it is safe for children by building a fence around it or by installing strong wire mesh just beneath the surface of the water. It is also important to make sure that the young toads or frogs have an easy way out of the water. This can be achieved by using gently sloping pond sides or by placing planters at the edge of the pond which animals can use to climb out.

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Toad Printable Factsheet

Status

During the last twenty years or so toad numbers have reduced greatly due to loss of habitat and road kill.  Even so, they remain widespread in the UK.

Habitats

In sprin toads can be found in almsot any standing body of freshwater, such as lakes, ponds and ditches.  At other times they mainly stay on areas of damp land,especially woodland 

Where to see

Outside the breeding season, toads tend to be harder to see, but can be found in damp areas, especially underneath vegetation and rocks.  During mating, they congregate in large numbers in ponds.  The numbers can reach over a thousand and this makes them very easy to spot.

 

Protecting Wildlife for the Future