The Common Toad (Bufo bufo)
Toads can live for up to 40 years. Their main predators are the grass snake and hedgehogs which unlike most predators are not put off by the irritant secreted from toads skin. They are also hunted by Badgers, Brown Rats and many birds including Herons, Corvids, Raptors.
Studies have shown that Common Toads appear to be able to sense the approach of an earthquake and will quickly evacuate an area just days before the attack.
Toads are most active at night and prefer warm damp nights where they will go out in search of insects, slugs and earthworms.
In February - April, at the first signs of Spring approaching, adult toads begin their migration to the breeding site. This often means having to cross busy roads on their way and many fail to survive the journey. One possible solution is to construct 'toad tunnels' beneath our roads to allow the travelling toads safe passage.
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The Common Frog (Rana temporaria)
The Common Frog is found right across the UK. It is also found right across Europe even into the Arctic Circle. Living for around 7-8 years the common frog could exist in numbers of up to 8 million in Great Britain but research suggests that this number could be falling.
Building a pond with shallow areas in your garden usually attracts breeding frogs within 2 or 3 years if the conditions are right.
Attracting frogs into your garden by building a pond is a great way to control the numbers of slugs and snails without the use of harmful pesticides. Frogs often lay thousands of eggs in their frog-spawn during early Spring. This vast number of eggs is necessary as only a handful out of every few thousand eggs will mature to adult breeding frogs.
Most adult Common Frogs are between 6-9cm in length. Some can be considerably larger especially the females which are usually bigger than the males.
The frogs ability to breath through its skin enables it to hibernate at the bottom of ponds beneath mud and rotting leaves for several months if necessary. The Common frog is mostly terrestrial outside of the mating season and can be found in gardens, woodlands and grassy fields but usually not too far from water.
It is widely believed that Common Frogs have the ability to lighten or darken their skin over time in order to match their surroundings. There are claims that Common Frogs also have the ability to change colour as well as shade but to what degree is unproven at the moment.
The skin colour of the Common Frog can vary from grey-green-yellow-brown. Occasionally reddish examples like these are found but these seem to be more common in Scotland than the rest of the UK.
These six Common Frogs were all residents of my back garden. This photo shows the variation in colours, shades and shapes that Common Frogs can be found in even on the same site.
This female adult Common Frog shows the classic speckled throat as opposed to the plain pale throat found on the male. She also displays rich red / yellow marbling on her belly, and granulated flanks which are smooth on males. This granulated skin may assist male frogs to secure on embrace during the mating process.
An adult male Common Frog.
An adult female Common Frog sitting partially submerged in a garden pond.
All photos on this page were taken using the Canon 40D Camera and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L Macro IS USM lens