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Common toad

The skin is dry and has a bumpy texture. The colour can be variable from reddish brown, or dark brown to greyish upper body and flecked off-white undersides. Striking bright golden eyes. When sitting it has a rounded shape, with slightly bowed front legs. If surprised in the open, it will crouch down: but if threatened it may inflate its cheek air sacks and “stand tall” on its front and back legs, making a hissing noise. It tends to walk or hop. Females (130mm) are much larger then males (80mm).

It is active at night, but can be seen moving and feeding during the early morning and evening. Congregates in large numbers to breed in the spring, preferring deep ponds and lochans. The males grow thumb pads to grip onto females at this time. Look out for distinctive gelatinous strings of eggs, draped through underwater vegetation. It hibernates from October to March.

Commonly found throughout the whole of mainland Scotland and on the islands of the Inner Hebrides. It falls victim to cars when crossing roads on migration to breeding sites in springtime and during normal nocturnal foraging.

Toads can secrete a noxious poison that is distasteful to predators and prevents them from being eaten. This can cause excessive salivation or frothing in naive individuals, such as young foxes or domestic dogs.

Common frog

Common frog

Rana temporaria

There is a great variety in the colour and pattern of common frog. There are no obvious stripes except in bars across its legs at rest. The eyes have horizontal pupils and with a dark mask behind. It has two ridges (dorsolateral folds), running close t...