Common Toad - Features & Lifestyle

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The toad belongs to the toad family, sometimes called the toad, common toad or mummel.
Characteristic features of the common toad

  • The males reach a size of up to nine centimeters, the females are usually slightly larger, up to the eleven centimeters.
  • Common toads look very clumsy and are not exactly beautiful, they have property-invaded bodies and round snouts, besides, the entire body is equipped with skin glands, which look like warts.
  • At the back the toads have two glands with skin poisons, which serve the defense of natural enemies.
  • The colors of the skin range from reddish brown over light brown to black and clay colors. The belly sides are light to white.
Occurrence & habitat
  • The toads have a relatively widespread and frequent occurrence. You can find them all over Europe, in parts of Russia and North Africa.
  • As common toads are dusk-active, we rarely see them during the day, as they hide under stones, in walls or in bushes. But if it gets dark, they will come out everywhere, whether on meadows, in hedgerows or even in forests and gardens. Their way of life is relatively adapted, so that the toads can also live in gravel pits and other very dry areas.
Reproduction of the common toad
For reproduction, the common toad needs water, here it prefers ponds and lakes, as well as ponds or the garden pond, provided there is enough water there. In spring, herds of toads migrate from winter quarters to spawning grounds. When couples find each other, the male is carried to the water.
The spawn itself is made in the form of strings, which can be a considerable five meters long. These are black eggs that are stuck in a kind of gel. If the spawn emanates from the female body, the male gives his sperm from it. The entire process of spawning can take up to twelve hours and consists of several spawning pauses and breaks. The number of deposited eggs can vary, but is usually between 3000 and 6000 pieces.
From the eggs develop the black little tadpoles. After another three months, the animals become land animals with pulmonary respiration. Another three to four years it takes until the toads are sexually mature and spawn again.
The diet of the common toad & its enemies
  • Ground reds feed on all sorts of small creatures, including worms, spiders and woodlice. The prey is devoured as a whole. The toads therefore also have an economic benefit, they are kept in organic horticulture as a pest control.
  • Of course, the common toad also has a variety of natural enemies, including raccoons, songbirds, predators that use the tadpoles, great dragonflies, but also the polecat is to mention as well as parasites that make the toads.
  • But man is one of the enemies of common toads. Road construction cuts up their habitats and their vehicles are interrupted or even stopped by their vehicles. Another problem is basements and manhole covers, the toads fall in and starve to death.
  • There are therefore already a number of protective measures, such as fences, which are built during the migratory periods, replacement spa waters, which are safe or so-called toad tunnels, which help the animals to safely cross the road or undercut. A serious endangerment of the existence does not exist with us yet.

Video Board: Neuroethology of Toads (Part 1 of 3; English): Behavioral Responses to Prey Features.

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