Common Toad

The Common Toad (Bufo bufo) is a species of toad endemic to Europe. It is also known as the European toad, or field toad. Adults can grow up to 18 cm in length and are usually brown or olive-coloured with dark spots. The toads breed in ponds and other bodies of water, and the tadpoles metamorphose into toadlets after 10 to 12 weeks. Their life expectancy is about 4 years.

Common Toads are an opportunistic feeder, and their diet consists of a variety of invertebrates, including earthworms, slugs, and beetles, making them a welcome visitor to organic vegetable gardens. The toad is a common prey item for a wide range of predators, including birds, snakes, and mammals. They hibernate over the winter under log piles, stones etc. They tend to prefer larger, deeper ponds for breeding, and it is possible to work out what type of spawn you have in your garden pond. Toad spawn has strings of pairs of eggs, that are attached to aquatic plants, whereas frog spawn is clumped. Unlike frogs that jump, toads walk. They are most active at night, and can stay in a garden for months during the summer, if there is plentiful food.

The Common Toad is classified as least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, the species is declining in parts of Europe due to habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as impacted by human activity, such as car use. They are not present on the island of Ireland.