Wildlife Photography and Digital Video Images
_______________________________ Amphibians and Reptiles 20 - Common Toads
COMMON TOAD Bufo bufo (m)
· Common Toads Bufo bufo are most likely to be encountered during the breeding season in spring in the company when post-hibernation adults will gather together and make their way in numbers - and frequently already in amplexus - to favoured water-bodies so that they can produce their strings (not masses – these are the product of Common Frogs Rana temporaria) of gelatinous spawn. At this time of the year there will inevitably be high mortality both due to predation and particularly on the roads. Toad-tunnels may reduce the impact but the brutal reality is that amphibians produce many more offspring than could possibly survive to reproductive age and they do so in the complete absence of any sentimentality! If the fact that the adults simply need to replace themselves in order to have bred successfully then this high-mortality makes more biological sense but for lovers of amphibians this concept might be difficult to swallow. Another peak in terrestrial activity occurs once the tiny ‘toadlets’ are old enough to leave these water-bodies in search of pastures new. This is another extremely hazardous time as there is a great deal of predation and there is another danger as many will sadly be inadvertently trampled by our feet unless careful attention is paid to the placing of every foot-step. It is therefore perhaps a good idea to avoid approaching the margins of ponds if tiny toads and frogs are seen in the vicinity.
· David’s films of British reptiles and amphibians may be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4AirIEc0Nodlcvlf7oYAJgJo8k7pHJ-A.
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