There are mainly two i frogs most common in our countryside and that we can find in the garden or in the vegetable garden: thecommon toad(Bufo bufo) and the green toad (Bufo virdis). In this article we will focus on the first one, theBufo bufo toadorcommon toad.
Thecommon toadit is present throughout Italy, missing only in Sardinia. Theis toad poisonous?No, despite some beliefs, thetoadit is not poisonous. In the past we often heard of a "poisonous toad“, Responsible for the death of pets… this is a misconception.
This belief arises from the fact that the skin's glands of thetoadproduce atoxic substance which acts in contact with the mucous membranes ... this poison is not lethal but only irritating to the mucous membranes (eyes, mouth ...). This means that if you want, you can safely take atoadin your hands: nothing will happen to you! Indeed, you will find that thefrogsthey have skin that appears wrinkled only at the sight, but to the touch it will feel very soft and smooth!
Common toad: bufo bufo
Thecommon toadit is the largest European toad. On average it measures about 10 - 12 cm but there are some specimens that reach dimensions of 20 cm.
It has a very warty skin with a color that can vary: it ranges from brown to dark green, from brownish to greyish .. It is easy to distinguish thecommon toadfrom agreen toad. Bufo virdis reaches a length of about 7 cm and has less wrinkled skin.
Thecommon toadit has the same habits as the green toad, except for nocturnal singing and ... social life. Yes, because theBufo virdis toademits an intense trill especially at night (some may confuse it with the song of the cricket) and is always lonely. Thecommon toad or Bufo bufo, during reproduction it can gather in very dense groups.
What does a toad eat?
Thecommon toadhis beginshuntingat dusk. It has crepuscular habits but also acts during the day on cloudy and humid days.
What does the common toad eat? It feeds on insects, worms, small molluscs ... it can also eat small vertebrates such as newborn mice.
Common toad: hibernation
Thecommon toadbegins its hibernation with the stiffening of temperatures. For thelethargy,the toad finds a safe den where it will spend the whole winter.
Where does the toad hibernate? It takes refuge well hidden, under stones, stumps, among the roots of trees or by exploiting abandoned burrows of other animals such as small otters and mice.
Upon awakening, coinciding with spring, for thecommon toadthe season ofcoupling.
Reproduction occurs in water. The female lays approximately 10,000 eggs in a gelatinous cord which, generally, adheres to vegetation or rocks. Simultaneously with the deposition, the male fertilizes them.
From tadpole to toad: metamorphosis
Tadpoles will hatch from the eggs. The metamorphosis of tadpoles is an extremely fascinating phenomenon.
The speed of metamorphosis depends both on the amount of nutrients present in the water (algae and organic matter) and (and above all) on the water temperature: mild temperatures speed up the metamorphosis.
Thetadpolefirst it develops the hind legs and then the front ones. In this phase, the metamorphosis of the digestive system takes place and the tadpole does not feed. This phase lasts 24 - 48 hours and ends with the formation of the mouth and the disappearance of the tail.
The resorbed tail will ensure the sustenance of theneometamorphosedfor about 3-4 days. At this stage, many people may confuse thetoad with a black frog. The neometamorphosed toad is very small, measuring only one centimeter and does not have its characteristic wrinkled appearance.
Natural predators of the common toad
If it is true that the toad preys on earthworms, snails and insects… it is true that it is preyed upon by other animals.
Its predators are the snakes of the genus Natrix (such as the common snake), the nice hedgehogs, some birds and, in the case oftadpoles, there are other natural enemies such as various fish and the larvae of other amphibian species such as the crested newt.
Toad in the garden or in the vegetable garden
Thanks to its sticky tongue, thetoadmanages to capture many prey. The common toad uses its tongue as a weapon: it throws it onto its prey at high speed. In the vegetable garden or in the garden, the toad is a godsend: it can clear away all harmful insects such as beetle larvae, cabbage caterpillars, flying mosquitoes ...!