The common toad is a species of toad that is extensively found in Europe. They are known for being excellent at hiding in their natural habitat. Over the years, they have also attained substantial popularity as pets, which is quite unlike some of the other types of toads. Read on to find out more about them.
Scientific Name: Bufo bufo
The commonly known subspecies of this species include Bufo bufo bufo, Bufo bufo gredosicola and Bufo bufo spinosus.
Here are the various general physical traits of the common toad.
Body: These toads have a rather heavy body with an elongated head. Due to this reason, they have a sluggish and slow physical movement when compared to some of the other types of toads.
Eyes: They have big protruding eyes along with yellowish irises.
Color: The predominant body color of these toads varies between brown, olive brown and grey. However, the habitat in which they are residing at a specific moment also has a crucial role to play in determining the color of their skin tone. While the body color remains uniform in most cases, sometimes darker tints and spots can be observed.
Texture: They are known for their dry skin surface which is covered with numerous warts.
Size: The adult toads reach a size of approximately 6 inches.
Forelimbs: These toads have shorter forelimbs and the toes remain turned inwards.
Hind legs: The hind feet are equipped with elongated un-webbed toes. The hind legs of these toads are shorter in size than what is observed in frogs.
Sexual dimorphism: Males are generally smaller in size than the females.
The common toad is found extensively all over the European continent apart from Ireland, Iceland and the Mediterranean Islands. They are also not present in Scandinavia due to the cold weather. Outside Europe, they can also be spotted in certain parts of African and in western Asia.
Common toads mostly reside in countryside areas, gardens, parks, edges of woodlands, fields as well as in dry areas that are free from any ponds.
The common toads hibernate during the winter months under leafy clumps, piles of logs and burrows. As they come out of hibernation sometime in February or March, they start marching towards their breeding sites.
Here are the common behavioral traits of these toads.
These toads tend to be nocturnal in their habits. They mostly come out at dusk when they are looking to hunt for food. They may get out from their hiding during daytime only if it rains.
Since they do not have any teeth, they are not able to chew their food. Instead, they swallow their food once they catch them.
They tend to be aggressive eaters, consuming beetles, flies, slugs, woodlice, caterpillars, worms, flies as well as small mice in some occasions. Juveniles usually eat the jelly-like substance that is found in their eggs. However, their eating patterns eventually change as they grow.
The Lucilia bufonivora is a major predator for the common toad as their larvae feed on the flesh of the living toads. Other predators include grass snakes, hedgehogs, foxes cats, and some species of birds. Certain predators such as the diving beetles may pierce through their outer skin surface and body even though these frogs have a rather toxic outer surface.
Have a look at the common defensive adaptations of these toads.
The Paranoid glands that are located behind eyes produce bufotoxin, a toxic substance which can help them in avoiding predation.
Once they are out of hibernation, the common toad focuses on breeding. They come to their breeding sites often in large groups. Mating activity is often very competitive among these toads, and multiple males may try to get the attention of a single female.
If a single male is able to mount a female after attempting for multiple times, the male remains with the female for numerous days as long as the eggs get all fertilized. The males use an amplexus to grab the females. The females lay numerous eggs that are arranged in long strings that measure about 4 meters. The eggs are placed along the vegetation that is normally found in the breeding sites. The eggs are hatched about three weeks later.
Once hatched, the juveniles remain close to water plants and obtain their nutrition from the original to which they originally remained attached. After about a few weeks, these toads have their legs developed. They turn into small amphibians by the time they are 12 weeks of age. They reach sexual maturity between the age of 3 years and 7 years.
They typically survive for about 10 to 12 years in the wild.
Here are some interesting facts about these toads.
Common toads are often petted by many eager enthusiasts who have a thing for them. If you are keen on having them as pets, you must follow these guidelines mentioned below.
You can keep common toads in big tanks that are free from any chlorinated water. While it is true that they often prefer to live in dirt, it is better that you keep them in a clean environment as this can help in avoiding bacteria. Provide them with a water bowl and make sure that the level of water is not too deep.
Mealworms, wax-worms and crickets form the perfect diet for these toads as they are very nutritious.
Make sure that you keep the tank in a place that does not get them any direct sunlight.
The common toad is listed as a species of “Least Concern” by the IUCN.
Here are some noteworthy pictures of the common toad.
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