Toads are different to frogs in many ways.
- A toad looks different to a frog.
- Toads spawn looks different to frogs spawn
- 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 journey back to their breeding ponds - those used by their family for generations.
- They will try to return even if a busy road is now in the way.
- People operate as 'Toad Wardens" at well known crossing points to help the toads survive by carrying them across the new roads.
- Toads can travel up to 2 km from where they spend the rest of the year.
Toad Mating & Spawn laying:
- The male toad 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.
- This is to avoid other males grasping his female.
- Toads can occupy a deeper area of the pond than frogs as they produce a nasty tasting toxin so 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 well under the water surface.
- The toads spawn strings wrap around the deep water submerged oxygenator plants and stems of upright plants on the deeper shelves.
- An emergent pond plant with at least 4" of submerged, upright bushy growth is useful.
- The underwater stems of a plant like this Caltha palustris has been 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.
- She leaves them draped around the plants under the water.
- Eggs in the toads spawn develop into black tadpoles in 10 days that swim in shoals in deep water areas of the pond.
- Before the legs are formed feed them on a vegetable based food – particularly important in a new pond – use Early stage – Tadpole food.
- Metamorphosis takes place over the next 10-12 weeks to change from tadpoles to toadlets with fully formed legs ready to leave the pond.
- In a new pond or with a large number of tadpoles in your pond supplement after the growth of legs with late stage (high protein) tadpole foods.
Toad spawn development images:
A timetable of our toads spawn development 2019:
- 22nd April - first toad spawn strings with rounded eggs.
- 2nd May - the eggs elongated into an oval shape inside the spawn string.
- Some had left the spawn string and were starting to swim individually as oval tadpoles.
- 7th May - some tadpoles with tails as well as others still lagging behind in the earlier stages of development.
- June and July - tadpoles were getting larger and swimming freely in the trough.
- All tadpoles fed with Early Stage Tadpole Food.
- 8th August - first toad tadpoles with back legs but with their tails still in place.
- We started feeding Late Stage Tadpole Food.
- 27th August (4 months from spawn) - some tiny toads hopping amongst the pond plants with 4 legs and no tails.
- 10th September some young toadlets had ventured out of the water and climbed amongst the moist plants nearby.
- At each point that we saw some new development there were still others at earlier stages that would catch up within the next couple of weeks.
Toads in Summer:
- The adults leave the pond shortly after mating to return to their hiding places in long grass or under sheds.
- They sleep all day and forage for insects at night.
- Toadlets will benefit from the cover and protection supplied by moist or waterlogged plantings around the pond edge to hide in during late Summer/Autumn as they mature.
You might like early stemmed plants for toads spawning and feeds to help tadpoles thrive: