Posts Tagged ‘toad’

Beautiful warm night tonight, which is fitting for the spring equinox, I suppose.  I happened to take a visit to the vegetable garden tonight (I’ve been hard at work there lately, digging and planting) when I heard a commotion from the pond in our neighbour’s garden.  Shining the torch, I could see that there were dozens of toads sitting on the damp grass and splashing in the water.

Common toad - Bufo bufo

It is obviously toad mating time again – there was no doubt what some of the toads were doing.

The fascinating thing was the noise they were making.  I’ve never heard toads sing like this before, but they really did make quite a noise.  Here is a recording I made (turn your volume up) that captures the sound:

I’ve seen toads mating here in previous years, but the sheer number this year made it quite a spectacle.  For a species in decline it was good to see them obviously thriving here.  Hats off to my neighbour for having such a good wildlife pond in his garden.

Mrs BWM made the find of the evening when she came across a small newt on the edge of the pond.  I’m not a newt expert by any means, so I’m not sure what species it is.  I’ll look it up in the guidebooks when I get a chance.

NewtI remember reading somewhere that newts will eat frog- and toad-spawn, so perhaps it wasn’t as innocent as it looked.

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Common toads mating by the pond

Common toads mating by the pond

I chanced to be walking past the pond this evening, when a strange noise caught my attention – a thin piping, like a cricket or similar insect.

When I shone my torch on the ground I found a dozen or so toads* scattered about, obviously enjoying the cool night.  The noise was coming from a pair of toads in – to put it politely – an amorous embrace.

I watched them for a few minutes.  I’m aware that staring at mating toads by torchlight is slightly voyeuristic, but there was a lot going on.  The female on the bottom (at least, I assume that’s how it works with toads) was walking about quite actively, despite the male on her back.  The male, on the other hand, was vigorously defending his position.  Every now and then another toad would creep up behind, obviously intent on taking over, whereupon the male would push him away with long strokes of his powerful back legs – all while he was still on top of the female.

Fascinating stuff.  I suspect there’ll be the patter of lots of tiny webbed feet soon!

(*The last time I saw a toad I mistook it for a frog.  I checked this time!)

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