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The common toad.

I was asked why this toad is yellow?

So I thought I would share it with you as it is such a 'magnificent beast!'

Common toads have some ability to change colour. This can be due to age, temperature and to a point, camouflage. If it lives in a sandy soil area, it is most likely going to be lighter than one living in a wooded area who will more likely be a browner colour.

Toads are land loving amphibians, that only seek out pools in breeding season. They are a gardeners friend as they have a diet of insects, slugs and spiders but larger toads have been known to eat slow worms and mice. They produce a toxin through their skin that makes them taste bad to prevent them from being eaten themselves, although hedgehogs are immune to this.

They are nocturnal and snooze under rocks, foliage or shallow holes in the ground during the day but they will become active on wet days when their favourite food is available. They are creatures of habit so you will often find them snoozing in the same place, where they can stay motionless for hours as they fade into the background. In October they tend to go into hibernation and waking in the spring to seek out water for the breeding season to start, the females are much larger than the males.

They have a lifespan of about 10 years but there are a huge amount of fatalities in forms of road kill. In fact approximately 20 tons killed last year. There are volunteer groups who go out with their buckets and give them a lift across the road on busy hotspots in breeding season and some areas have made toad tunnels under roads. We have to do what we can as they are such an important part of our environment.

If you wanted to become a toad patroller, here is a link

(Picture by Tean Mitchell.)

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