Belongs to: amphibians

Compare with: common frog

Common toad Bufo bufo

Best time to see: mid Mar to mid Oct

Key facts

Britain's most widespread toad, although rarely seen because mainly nocturnal

Found in a wide variety of habitats, often very dry, although it needs water to breed

Widespread across most of Europe, but not Ireland


Usually uniformly brownish, but can be sandy, brick red, grey or olive, up to 15cm long; skin is warty and dry

Mainly nocturnal, emerging from hiding places at dusk; prefers to walk on its short legs rather than hop

Catches insects and other invertebrates with its long sticky tongue


Migrate to breeding grounds in large numbers in spring, twining strings of jelly containing a double row of black eggs around aquatic vegetation

Tadpoles hatch after 2–3 weeks and swim freely in open water, eating algae, rotting plants and dead animals, and leave the water in June for woods and fields

Hibernate from October to spring in frost-free refuges such as under large stones

  • adult
  • mating

© David Corke

© Phil Luke