Common Toad

(Bufo bufo)




Facts about this animal

A large, bulky toad, heavily built, very warty skin and very large paratoid glands with a length of 9 – 11 cm. Dorsal surface white-grayish, gray, brown or olive-brown with more or less developed darker spots. These spots are sometimes absent, sometimes fused into irregular longitudinal bands. Background coloration changes during the breeding season, becoming uniform. Belly light-gray or yellowish-gray with dark spots. Male differs from female in having nuptial pads on 1st finger (during the breeding season on 1st, 2nd and/or 3rd fingers), smaller body size and in some body proportions. As other toads, B. bufo is active mainly in twilight. The toads hibernate singly or in groups from September - beginning of November to March - June, depending on the altitude and latitude. Hibernation occurs on land and occasionally in streams and springs. Usually, the hibernation is finished in April - May. Reproduction occurs from March - June (usually late April – May, but can start as early as February). Amplexus is pectoral. A few males often clasp one female, and in many instances several males try to clasp the same female, and large "balls" consisting of numerous toads may be observed. The eggs are laid in long cordons. There are up to 7000 eggs in the cord and they are arranged in rows of four. Embryonic and larval development takes usually 1.5-2.5 months. Thus at the end of June the young, app. 1 cm long toads leave the water, sometimes in masses and after a few weeks have adopted the nocturnal life of the adults in the forest. They reach sexual maturity only with 3-5 years. Common Toads forage exclusively on land, mainly on crawling invertebrates (insects, earthworms). As in other species of toads, consumption of ants is very typical.

Did you know?
that Common Toads are the exceptional case of fidelity to a reproduction site, meaning that if an area's population is eradicated then that population is therefore 'extinct' of at least for a long time.There are interesting defense tactics in this species: They puff themselves up and lower their head, raising their hind legs. making themselves look larger than they really are. They secrete a liquid from their skin and paratoid glands which contains venomous content. If picked up they will excrete urine. Wounded tadpoles release a substance into the water which alarms the other tadpoles and allows them to escape to safety.


Name (Scientific) Bufo bufo
Name (English) Common Toad
Name (French) Crapaud commun
Name (German) Erdkröte
Name (Spanish) Sapo común
Local names Czech: Ropucha obecná
Dutch: Gewone pad
Estonian: Harilik kärnkonn
Finnish: Rupikonna
Greek: Phrynos
Hungarian: Barna varangy
Italian: Rospo comune
Polish: Ropucha szara, Ropucha zwyczajna
Romansh: Rustg brin
Swedish: Vanlig padda
Turkish: Sigilli kurbaga
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed


WAZA Projects



Photo Copyright by
© James Lindsey



Range Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of, Moldova, Republic of, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom
Habitat The Common Toad is associated mainly with the forest zone (in conifer, mixed and deciduous forests), where it prefers conifer forests with marshes. But it lives also in in groves, bushlands, parks and gardens, generally in fairly wet sites with dense vegetation usually below 1500 m. Large open areas are avoided but in forested landscapes the toad readily inhabits bushlands, meadows, fields, glades, gardens, vineyards etc. In the south of the range, the toad lives in insular forests in the zone of forest steppe and in wet and dense riparian vegetation. Spawning takes place in lakes, ponds, ditches, large puddles and streams with relatively clear water, quite variable in area and depth.
Wild population In most habitats, B. bufo is not very abundant, although sometimes up to 70 specimens are found per 100 m of pond shore or, on land, to 200 individuals per hectare. Destruction of forests and meadows, as well as artificial drying of wetlands compose the most serious threats for populations of B. bufo, as well as pollution of the environment by mineral fertilizers and industrial wastes, recreation, urbanization, mortality on roads, meaningless killing by people etc.
Zoo population 31 specimens reported to ISIS (2007). In addition. wild common toads have chosen many European zoos as their habitat.

In the Zoo

Common Toad


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 45 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
© Christoph Leeb

Why do zoos keep this animal

Being one of the most common species throughout its range, and less attractive than some of its relatives, the common toad is only rarely kept by zoos. The purpose of keeping would be educational, i.e. to familiarise urban people with one of the amphibian species they are most likely to encounter in the wild.