September 23, 2017

Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

There’s something about the way Toads look at you. No wonder they were considered to be witches familiars. Along with Cats and Owls, they project a general impression of knowing-ness, like they’ve seen it all before “Just let me be on my way monkey boy, you silly evolutionary newcomer.

We’re lucky enough to always have a few of these around the garden. It’s a very old house, and I’m a big fan of leaving rock and log piles liberally dotted around the place, so they have plenty of habitat and prey. Although principally nocturnal, they’re pretty frequent encountered whilst lifting a log or large stone, and depending on the weather conditions thay have the most amazing range of colours. During a dryer spell they tend to be an olive or yellowish green, whereas during damper conditions, they’re often a much darker brown, almost black.

Incidentally, the category I’ve placed Bufo bufo in is called Herpetofauna. This doesn’t directly refer to conventional taxonomy, encompassing as it does, the classes of Reptilia, snakes, turtles, lizards and their kin and Amphibia to which toads belong along with frogs and another favourite order of mine, the newts.

“Herpetology offers benefits to humanity in the study of the role of amphibians and reptiles in global ecology, especially because amphibians are often very sensitive to environmental changes, offering a visible warning to humans that significant changes are taking place.”

Quoth Wikipedia

So it seems particularly fitting as a ‘one a day’ during International Year of Biodiversity.