Bufo bufo - Common European toad:

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Summary Information
Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Amphibia / Anura / Bufonidae / Bufo / Species
Alternative Names
  • .Common toad
Description General: warty skin, Squat broad body.Prominent parotid glands. Front legs short and stout with four toes, not webbed. Larger, powerful hind legs, with five toes, partially webbed (B159, B160, B161)

Length:  Females larger than males, females may be over 4 inches long (B161); up to 15cm (B159).

Eye: gold/red gold/coppery, with black veining and black horizontal pupils (B159, B160, B161).

Skin: Warty, usually brown


  • Dorsal: Brown; may be sandy, reddish, greyish, yellowish, olive.
  • Abdomen: pale white-grey or yellowish with variable-size brownish spots or marbling.
  • (B159, B160).

Breeding Males: rough pads on fore feet at base of fourth toe (rounded, flat) and first toe (rounded, larger). B161

Tadpole: Darker than those of frogs and smaller than similar-age frog tadpoles (B161).

Toadlets: Darker than adults (B160).

Similar species: distinguished from Bufo calamita - Natterjack by darker eye, oblique rather than parallel parotid glands and lack of yellow stripe down centre of back (B159).

Range and Habitat

World: Palearctic from British Isles across Europe and Asia to Japan; north-west Africa (B159)

  • Europe: Most of Europe. Not found Ireland, Corsica, Sardinia, Balearctics, Malta, Crete and some other smaller islands (B159).
  • Britain: Throughout British Isles, except north-western Scottish Isles. Not found in Ireland (B161).


  • Wide variety of habitats, including relatively dry areas.(B159, B160).
Further Information


  • Mainly nocturnal.
  • Active swimmers.
  • Swim using legs.
  • Walk on land, but are also able to hop.
  • Able to climb.
  • Head-down, hindquarters-up posture when alarmed

(B159, B160, B161)


  • Crows, magpies.
  • Rats, hedgehogs, stoats and weasels
  • Some Natrix natrix - Grass snake.
  • Lucilia bufonivora - Greenbottle.
  • (B160)

Skin shedding: Periodic (B160).

Longevity: Have reached 40 years in captivity (B160).



  • In water, at specific sites.
  • Deep ponds, canals, ditches.
  • (B160).

Age: End of fourth year (B160).


  • Usually March, but may be as early as late February or as late as April (B160, B161).


  • In strings, 3,000-4,000 per female, in two rows. Smaller than in frogs. (B160, B161)

Tadpole development:

  • May vary from 65 to 108 days, depending on temperature, to reach metamorphosis (B160).
  • Fully developed by May (exceptional), early June (normal), late June/early July (if cold weather and lack of food) (B161 ).


  • Adults start in October, juveniles by November.
  • On land, e.g. hedgerows, tree roots, rockeries, rubbish tips, cellars.
  • May be found in large numbers in suitable sizeable place.
  • As far as two miles from breeding site .
  • (B160, B161)


Adults: worms, grubs, slugs, beetles, ants, caterpillars, woodlice (B160, B161).

Tadpoles: initially algae on leaves and stems of plants, later animal food: dead fish, fledglings, tadpoles (B161) .

Feeding: Sit and wait. Take moving prey (B160).

Organisations (UK Contacts):

Electronic Library (further reading):

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General Legislation:

Individual techniques:

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