Toads are different to frogs in many ways.
- Toads look different to frogs. They have a ‘warty’ skin and waddle rather than jump and are larger than frogs.
- A toad can live up to 40 years.
- Toads are ‘at risk’ and are protected from sale.
Toads in Spring:
- When the weather warms up in Spring toads will leave their places of hibernation. They want to get back to their breeding ponds – where they grew up and that has been used by their family for generations.
- They will try to get back, even if a busy road is now in the way. They can travel up to 2 km from where they spend the rest of the year. People operate as ‘Toad wardens’ at well known crossing points to help the toads survive by carrying them across the new roads.
- The male grabs his female in an ‘amplexus’ grasp – sometimes even before they reach water.
- He fertilises the egg strings as she lays them while they swim around during mating to avoid other males.
- The strings wrap around the deep water submerged oxygenator plants and stems of upright plants.
- Toads can occupy a deeper area of the pond than frogs as they produce a nasty tasting toxin that means they are safer from predators. Even toad tadpoles taste unpleasant and can survive in open water in a pond shared with fish.
- Toads lay egg strings among the plant growth well under the water surface. So an emergent pond plant with at least 4″ of submerged, upright bushy growth is useful.
- The stems of a plant like this Caltha palustris which are under the water surface will be used by the female toad to inter-twine her spawn.
- She releases masses of these strings of jelly each about 1/2″ wide containing about 2000 eggs in total and she leaves them draped around the plants underwater. This toadspawn was found below the water level and photographed in the first week of April 2012
- The eggs develop into black tadpoles in 10 days which swim in shoals in the deeper water areas of the pond.
- The tadpoles will undergo metamorphosis over the next 10-12 weeks to change from tadpoles to toadlets with fully formed legs ready to leave the pond.
Toads in Summer:
- The adults will leave the pond shortly after mating to return to their hiding places in long grass or under sheds where they sleep all day and forage for insects at night.
- Toads will benefit from the cover and protection supplied by moist or waterlogged plantings around the pond edge to hide in during Summer as they mature.