Species of the Month February / March 2023

Common Toad (Bufo bufo)


Early spring is a great time of year to spot the charismatic Common Toad, as they emerge from hibernation and migrate back to ancestral breeding pools.

Similar to the Common Frog (Rana temporaria), Toads can be distinguished by their drier warty skin and bright copper coloured eyes. They are also more prone to crawling than hopping. Toad spawn is easy to distinguish, as it is laid in long strings (as shown in the photo below) rather than in clumps like frogspawn. Adult Toads hibernate under logs and stones, and can be found in gardens (helpfully feeding on slugs and snails). After congregating in early spring to breed, Toads move away from ponds and resume their solitary lifestyle in a more terrestrial habitat.

Common Toad is a nocturnal species, so a good way to find them can be a torch lit hunt in suitable habitat after dark. More photos and information about Common Toad is available from Freshwater Habitats Trust, Froglife, and NatureSpot. Spring migration of Common Toads can unfortunately result in mass traffic casualties. You may like to check for Toad Patrol locations from the Froglife Toads on Roads project to see if you can help guide Toads safely over roads.

Common Toad are found throughout south east Wales (we hold circa 3,000 records at SEWBReC) but they are under threat from habitat loss and disruption of migration routes. You can view the 1km density map for SEWBReC here and the 10km Wales wide distribution here.

If you spot Common Toad during February / March (or at any other time of year), please send us the record, ideally via SEWBReCORD or the LERC Wales App. Instructions on how to submit records are available here.