Toads and frogs are easily distinguished by the fact that frogs have smooth, moist skin while toads have drier, ‘warty’ skin. Frogs have longer legs so that they can jump, whereas toads have shorter legs which they use to crawl.
Common Toads in particular are 5 to 9 cm long and come in a variety of colours. They have a round, blunt snout and golden eyes.
Common Toads can be found in woodlands, scrub, rough grassland, wetlands and some gardens. You are more likely to see them on mild nights as they hide during the day. In the winter, they hibernate in hollows or at the bases of hedgerows.
Unlike a lot of amphibian species, Common Toads like ponds with fish. This is because Common Toad tadpoles are poisonous to fish, which gives them a greater chance of outcompeting frog tadpoles. They continue to be able to secrete toxins as adult Common Toads and therefore have few predators. However, they will be taken by herons, members of the crow family and Grass Snakes.
Although the Common Toad is a widespread species in Britain its population is in decline. This has led to it being listed as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.
Common Toads usually hibernate between October and March and then breed from March onwards. Toadlets usually emerge from ponds during August.
Adult Common Toads feed on invertebrates like earthworms and snails. Toadlets feed on smaller invertebrates including aphids.
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