Gray toad or common - the largest among European toads


Toads are one of the most extensive amphibian families, uniting about 450 species living on all continents except Antarctica. In Russia, there are 6 types of toads. The most widespread toad (it’s also the largest) found on the territory of our country is the common (gray) toad. She is known to all of us from childhood through pictures in books, fairy tales and fables. About her and tell in this article.

The common toad is rather ordinary, but much less noticeable than its cousin, the green toad, whose presence is produced by a ringing mating trill. In addition, because of the nightly secretive way of life, it comes to a person’s eyes much less often than, say, frogs living together with her.

What does an ordinary toad look like?

The common toad (Bufo bufo) is a rather large amphibian. The length of her body often reaches 13 cm or more, while females are noticeably larger than males. From above it is painted in various shades of brown, and on this background darker spots are often scattered. Below its color is off-white or yellowish, sometimes with a darker marble pattern.

The upper part of the body of the common toad is covered with large rounded tubercles - the so-called "warts".

In the back of the head, behind the eyes, are large parotids (parotid glands).

Males of this species do not have resonators. In the mating period on the first or third fingers of the front paws, they develop mating corns.

Where does the gray toad dwell?

The habitat of this species is huge: the gray toad is distributed practically throughout the whole territory of Europe, in Korea, Japan, China and in North-West Africa. In Russia, it inhabits all central regions of the European part, the Urals, Western Siberia, reaches the sources of the Irtysh and the Sayan Mountains.

It lives in all types of forests, scrublands, a steppe belt, it rises up to 3,000 meters above sea level in the mountains. Often found in parks and gardens.

Common toad lifestyle

The toad lives on land, but reservoirs attract it only during the breeding season.

The active amphibian at night, during the day, hides in shelters - under stones, in hollows in the ground, in the holes of small animals. She is not afraid of the proximity of people and often lives in buildings, using them as shelters.

With the onset of darkness the toad goes hunting. It feeds only on land. In food is almost any terrestrial and soil animals. The main share of its diet consists of various garden pests - slugs, ants, various beetles (in particular, Colorado). Given that the toads feel great among the cultivated plantations and hunt at night without interfering with anyone, they really provide an invaluable service to gardeners and gardeners, destroying harmful insects.

The toads living in the garden are an excellent means of biological plant protection.

The gray toad falls asleep in September-October, and awakens in March. It winters in rodent holes, in rotting stumps, under the horses of trees. Winter can be alone or in groups of several individuals.

Reproduction of gray toad

Some time after the winter toad, the breeding season begins in the common toad. At this time, the males gather near bodies of water with clear, stagnant water, attracting females with low, low-voiced call sounds. Soon the females appear on their call.

The males of the gray toad are extraordinarily loving, and at the same time extremely illegible. Either because the males did not have enough females, or because of inattention, but the males sometimes embrace not only the female, ready to continue the race, but also other amphibians that accidentally turned up, and even fish, if they could not escape. At the same time, the “hugs” are so strong that the unfortunate animal can simply be strangled or drowned. An agitated male may not notice this and continue swimming with his breathless victim in tight paws. Even just objects floating in water, at least somewhat resembling a female, can attract the attention of a loving male: there are known cases of the formation of a “pair” of a male gray toad, for example, with a chip. However, fortunately for the toad family, the attention of those who wish to continue the genus of males is usually given to their relatives.

The female lays from 1200-6800 eggs, connected in cords, the length of which sometimes reaches 10 meters! Depending on the water temperature, embryonic development lasts from 2 to 21 days, the larval development lasts from one and a half to two months. Before metamorphosis, tadpoles reach 40% of adult sizes.

In the middle of summer, the toads that have completed metamorphosis leave their native water body and set off on a journey by land. Here they will not return. The young fry are moving overland, not only at night, but also during the day, therefore at this time they are much more visible than adult individuals. They reach sexual maturity in the third or fourth year of life.


The skin glands of toads secrete a poisonous secret that has a burning taste and vomiting. If a predator grabs and bites an amphibian, poison is released. Poisoning with these secretions in cats and dogs is not uncommon. For humans, the poison is not dangerous, but accidentally hitting the mucous membrane of the eye or mouth can cause pain and inflammation. Toads can be taken in hand: contrary to popular belief, there will be no warts from this, but you should not touch the eyes with these hands.

Because of the poisonous skin secretions, and also because of its impressive size, the common toad has not so many enemies. These are mainly hedgehogs, snakes, snakes and birds of prey. It is interesting that, against predators, in addition to poison, the amphibian has one more weapon - a peculiar defensive posture: having inflated the body and bowing its head, as if “filled up”, the common toad rises high on all four straightened legs. Not only does the sight of her at the same time become downright threatening, in such a pose she is much harder to grab and swallow, for example, a snake. Sometimes she even jumps in this position in the direction of a reptile approaching her.

So, against natural enemies, gray toads have a rich arsenal of protective equipment. However, pits and ditches with sheer walls often become a deadly trap for them. Without outside help, amphibians cannot get out of such a trap and die by starvation. Many settling toads perish on the roads, under the wheels of transport. Although in general, the fate of this widespread type of fear does not currently cause.

Content of common toad in the terrarium

If you decide to get a gray toad, then for its maintenance you will need a horizontal terrarium, and in order for the amphibian not to live in cramped conditions, it should be quite voluminous - at least 100 liters. Above, amphibious housing is covered with a net lid.

Comfortable temperature for an ordinary toad is 18-25 ° С, humidity is 50-90%. Once a day the terrarium should be sprayed with warm water. Since gray toads are a night view, lighting is optional.

Snags, stones, moss are placed in the terrarium. Coconut crumb or a mixture of potted soil, expanded clay and sphagnum is used as a litter. The thickness of the soil should be such that the amphibian could burrow into it. The terrarium can be decorated with plants with dense stems and leaves.

The diet of toads should be made by live food insects - crickets, marble cockroaches, meal worms, zofobas. You can give earthworms and spiders.

Having got an ordinary toad at home, you will be able to watch this interesting amphibian for many years. Indeed, the gray toad lives in captivity for a long time - up to 36 years! Under natural conditions, their eyelids are shorter - 10-15 years.

Description of the gray toad

Gray toads are the largest toads of Europe. The body length of an ordinary toad exceeds 80 millimeters, the size of females can reach 200 millimeters.

The body is squat and wide. Paws end with short fingers. The males do not have resonators. The eyes are orange with horizontal black pupils.

The skin of gray toads is bumpy and dry, so that their bodies do not dry out when they are at a great distance from the reservoir.

The color of the body of the common toad varies at different times of the year, depending on the age and sex. The color can be olive, gray, brown, terracotta and sandy.

Gray Toad Food

The diet of gray toads consists of invertebrates: bugs, beetles, slugs, ants, spiders, insect larvae, caterpillars. They also eat larger prey: newborn mice, lizards and small snakes.

Jumping toad uses only in a discouraged state, when the danger in her opinion is present.

Toads notice prey when it is at a distance of up to 3 meters. They grab victims with the help of sticky tongues. When attacking large prey, the common toad grabs its jaws, and at the same time helps with its paws. Although gray toads are very voracious, they do not eat carrion.

Gray toads destroy agricultural pests, which make up about 60% of the diet.

Breeding common toads

Common toads lead a solitary life, and gather together only during the breeding season. The marriage period falls on April-May, its duration is 3-6 days.

In a quiescent state, the toad moves exclusively in steps.

During the breeding period in males, the membranes between the fingers become darker. Males expect females at breeding sites. Each male keeps its territory. The female mates with only one male. During mating, the male grabs the female by the hind legs, and he can make grunting trills.

Listen to the voice of the gray toad

Each female lays 600-4000 eggs. Masonry has the form of long cords, which females wrap on snags, stones and vegetation in the water. Incubation lasts 10 days. Newborn larvae in length reach 26 millimeters. Tadpoles gather in numerous flocks.

Tadpoles grow for 2-3 months, after which they leave the reservoir. Young toads in length reach 1 centimeter. Puberty in common toads occurs in 3-4 years.

Tadpoles are afraid of strong fluctuations and splashes of water.

The content of common toads in captivity

Gray toads are kept in terrariums of the horizontal type, with a volume of about 200 liters. The terrarium is covered on top with a mesh cover.

A mixture of potted earth, expanded clay and sphagnum is used as a substrate. The temperature in the terrarium with gray toads is maintained at 18-20 degrees. Lighting to common toads is optional, as these amphibians are active at night. Humidity in the terrarium should be 40-95%, for this it is sprayed every day with water.

The terrarium is decorated with ornamental plants with strong leaves and stems, for example, rubber plants, monsteras, philodendrons. Also in the terrarium should be snags, bark, stones and moss. Pond in the terrarium is optional.

The aquarium for breeding common toads is filled with water at 1/3.

Feeding gray toads

Gray toads can be fed with arthropods, spiders, earthworms. It is worth considering that these toads eat only live insects. Common toads can not be fed with hard-cover insects, as they can damage the amphibian intestines.

Toads need mineral supplements: vitamins B1, B6, B12, fitin and calcium.

Breeding common toads

The ratio of males and females should be 1 to 1. In preparation for the reproduction of gray toads, they need to hibernate for a period of 1-2 months. Or you can keep them in the spring for a week in the water.

In the adjustable aquarium should be plants and islets of land. Incubation lasts 10-14 days. Toads develop 30-40 days. Juveniles come to land with tails.

Description and classification of the species gray toad

The common toad (gray toad, cowshed, Bufo bufo) is an amphibian belonging to the genus of toads. It is the largest representative of the genus living in Europe.

Some scientists have identified three subspecies of the common toad:

The coronet has a wide and squat body. On the large head there is a wide mouth, two small nostrils and protruding eyes of orange color with horizontal slit-like pupils.

Were limbs short. Unlike other frogs, hind legs are short with long fingers. The tail of the animal is missing. The skin is dry, with small tubercles. Its color can vary - from monotonously brown to olive and gray shades, and depends on age, gender and time of year.

The skin glands of this amphibian can release a small amount of toxin, with which the toad is protected from predators. For a person, this poison is not dangerous.

Gray toads - can live in captivity for about fifty years. In the wild, they live much less - 10-12 years.

Gender Differences

Gray toads of different sexes do not have large differences in color - females are more brown, and males are more gray. In addition, females are larger than males. Males reach sizes up to 9 cm, while females grow up to 13-20 cm.

On the first three fingers, males develop mating corns, which are used to capture the female during mating.

Habitat and behavior

Korovnitsa prefers thickets of forests, forest-steppe, forest-tundra and can live both in the middle of the forest and on the edge, in the lowlands of rivers or lakes. Often found on agricultural fields, in gardens, gardens, on the suburban areas. The gray toad prefers to live on land, and in the water is taken only for reproduction.

This animal usually hides in the daytime in a shelter or hole, and at dusk it becomes active and preys on invertebrates, which it feeds on. The activity of the adult gray toad during the day may be observed during the breeding season or seasonal migration, but the young individuals are active around the clock.

Conditions of detention

Gray toad at home will feel good in a horizontal type terrarium. The dwelling should be sized at the rate of 40 × 30 × 25 cm (30 l) for 1-2 individuals. In addition, the height of the heating lamp must also be taken into account.

The terrarium should be equipped only with daytime heating, which will maintain the temperature at 23-25 ​​degrees in the daytime and 18-20 degrees at night.

The toad's dwelling can be equipped imitating the natural habitat. Best placed in an aquarium:

  • snags,
  • shelter
  • plant plants found in the natural environment.

As a filler, it is necessary to use a drainage layer of 4-5 cm, on top of it - fresh ground with a layer of about 10 cm and moss. If you are not planning on planting, then you can use a coconut substrate, covered with sphagnum moss on top. The presence of a drinker or a reservoir is not a prerequisite, but every day it is necessary to spray the home of the toad with warm water, and constantly maintain the humidity of the moss.

At home, this type of amphibians is sometimes kept in groups, and it is necessary to separate males and females from wintering.

In the home environment in the diet of adults include:

  • big crickets
  • feed cockroaches,
  • meal worms,
  • newborn mice

Young frogs eat the same food, only smaller, and do not hesitate to use bloodworms.

Tadpoles of the common toad are omnivorous, they are fed with various aquarium feeds and small invertebrates.

Together with the main food, gray toads, regardless of age, it is necessary to offer various additives containing calcium. And once a month - vitamin preparations.

Feeding tadpoles and young individuals is necessary daily, and adults - once every two days.

Seasonal and daily rhythms

During the period of amphibian activity, the duration of daylight should be 12 hours. You can also use UV lamps for both illumination and radiation.

In winter, the gray toad needs rest.

  • Within two weeks before the onset of the intended wintering, it is necessary to gradually reduce the daylight hours until the daytime heating is completely stopped.
  • After that, amphibians are placed in a ventilated, light-tight container, pre-filled with sphagnum moss, and cleaned in a cool place with a temperature of 15-17 degrees.
  • After 2-3 days, the container must be moved to the shelf in the refrigerator (temperature 5-8 degrees).
  • Moss should be periodically sprayed, maintaining moisture.
  • Wintering lasts about 2 months if the animal feels fine.
  • It is necessary to remove the gray toad from wintering under the same regime as it was introduced - gradually increasing the duration of daylight hours.

Population threats

The gray toad belongs to the species whose fate causes the least concern. However, this wording is very conditional, and in relation to most amphibians, it is even unacceptable. Due to their biology, amphibians are extremely sensitive to a wide range of anthropogenic factors, and the number of populations is decreasing everywhere. The main threats to the numbers of gray toad are: dewatering of water bodies, their pollution with fertilizers and pesticides, destruction of habitats, death on roads, senseless destruction by people. In contrast to the green toad (Bufo viridis), the gray toad does not adapt well to man-made landscapes.


They contain gray toads in horizontal type terrariums. The terrarium should be spacious enough, as the toads are mobile and curious. Вентиляционные отверстия следует предусмотреть в нижней и верхней части одновременно. Серая жаба хорошо чувствует себя при комнатной температуре и в обогреве не нуждается. Продолжительность светового дня имеет большее значение, чем интенсивность освещения, так что осветительными приборами можно пренебречь.To grow fry, it is desirable to install lamps with a UV spectrum such as Repty glo 2, 5% UVB, however, when calcining and fortifying food objects, it is not necessary. As the soil, you can use a mixture of leaf litter with peat, charcoal and sand. In such a ground toads will be happy to bury. Shelters in the form of pieces of bark, koryag, halves of flower pots are necessary. Humidity is maintained by daily spraying from a spray bottle. To ensure that the glasses are not contaminated with lime, this can be done with distilled water. In a corner of the terrarium, you should put a shallow cuvette filled with water so that the toads can compensate for the loss of moisture. The water in it will have to change often, as toads like to defecate there. Forest moss is well suited as a vlaoderzhivayuschey substrate. They feed the toads with a marble cockroach, a cricket, and occasionally you can give a newborn mouse. Feeding grasshoppers, earthworms from nature is possible, but carries the risk of infection with parasitic infections. Remember that amphibians can not be fed with maggots, poisonous insects, zofobasa larvae and floury crust. Young fish are fed daily, adults every 3-4 days. Insects for growing toads should be sprinkled with a vitamin-calcium mixture at each feeding. To do this, use special mixture type Reptocal or prepare them yourself. Adult animals should be given fortified feeds once every 2-4 weeks. Breeding gray toads in captivity is difficult because it requires full wintering from October to April. Given the inexpediency of breeding this species in a home terrarium, it is recommended to spend the wintering period of one month at a temperature of 5-8 degrees and constant control of humidity. To do this, healthy, inexhaustible animals stop feeding, simultaneously reducing the light day and temperature to 10-15 degrees for two weeks. Next, the toads are placed in a container with wet moss and put on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator (compartment for storing fresh vegetables). At the end of the wintering season, the temperature smoothly flattens over a period of two weeks.

Group maintenance of commensurate toads is possible, but the male, who began to annoy the neighbors with harassment, will have to be set out for a while. In nature, there are very frequent cases when males caught in amplexus by stronger competitors die.

The life expectancy of the gray toad is 10-15 years, however, a case of reaching 36 years is known.