Common Toad - Bufo bufo

The Common Toad Bufo bufo (le crapaud commun in French) is indeed common in this area. They are often encountered in gardens, where they bury themselves in the cool earth. During the mating season you may also see them in numbers on the banks of slow flowing rivers and ponds. Toads are surprisingly long lived (around 10 years) and return to the same communal mating ponds year after year. For a detailed species account go to the excellent English language French reptile and amphibian website HerpFrance. We have also written about Common Toads on our daily blog Days on the Claise here (a female in our garden) and here (a male on the banks of the Creuse).

Common Toads are brown and warty, with beautiful copper coloured eyes with horizontal pupils. Females are much bigger than males. Mating behaviour can be observed in the autumn, with numbers of males gathering on riverbanks but the main mating season starts in February and long strings of eggs are laid, submerged in the water of the breeding ponds (cf frogs, which lay floating clumps from March - photo). The tadpoles are black and tend to congregate together, often near the surface (unlike frog tadpoles, which are brown and speckled and tend to remain solitary, near the bottom).

Common Toad tadpoles in a known breeding pond in a hamlet near Saint-Aignan, April.
The size and promenance of the paratoid glands (the lumps between the eyes and the shoulders) suggest that this is a Common Toad, as does the location -- in a damp part of the Forest of Loches.


  1. I've seen this colourway in the UK on a young toad such as this...
    so I'd agree...
    the only other toad in the UK has a yellow stripe down the back!!;-)

    Actually, I've a slide of a young "B.calamity" of about this size that also has the orange dots...
    I wonder if it is a "camo" trait...
    it certainly blended in with the Norfolk dune slack it was in...
    as does this chappie/chappess here.

  2. Tim: my original thought was that it was a Midwife, but they have quite small paratoid glands and are not very common in forests -- more in gardens.