Common toad

A common toad











Amphibians are a class of invertibrate i.e. frogs, toads and newts which are able to live both on land and in the water. They can be attracted to a wildlife garden by incorporating a garden pond. All of these creatures can spend long periods of time away from large areas of water and that includes even small garden ponds. All they need is cool shelter and somewhere damp to hide in hot conditions. I was recently in France and during the day the temperature rose to twenty eight degrees and it hadn’t rained for weeks so the ground was dry and cracked , but every night after dark, even though it was still warm there were lots of toads about even, though there was no water nearby.

They obviously found somewhere nice and cool to hide during the heat of the day and they get their fluid from the insects they eat. They all do however have to return to water to breed. All three lay eggs which are cocooned in a clear jelly like substance. This coating has a dual purpose. Firstly it is protection against predators, and secondly food for the tadpoles to eat when they first hatch. Although they are all similar in construction they can be distinguished because they are laid in different ways. Frogs lay them in large clusters of perhaps two or three hundred in a ball shape in shallow water close to the edge of the pond. Toads lay them in long strands wrapped around plants under the water, and newts lay them singly on the underside of underwater plants then carefully wrap each one up by bending the leaf over it and sticking it down. All three lay their eggs in still rather than flowing water.


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