Table of contents:
- The size
- Life span
- Nutrition / food
- Social structure
- Season / period of breeding
- Courtship ritual
- Benefit / harm to humans
Video: Gray Toad (Bufo Bufo)
The gray toad, or the common toad, or the cowshed (Bufo bufo) constantly lives on land, and enters the water only for reproduction. It is the largest toad found in Europe. Easily tolerates moisture loss, stores water in the skin during night "bathing" in dew. The gray toad protects itself from enemies with poison, which acts as an emetic and only when it is in the mouth of the enemy. The gray toad is hunted by birds of prey, already, hedgehogs and rats.
Russia, North Caucasus, Middle and South Urals, northwest Africa, Europe, Baltic, Mongolia, China, Korea, Japan.
The gray toad is the largest toad in Europe. She has a wide, squat body, short toes on her paws. The eyes are orange with black horizontal pupils. Males have no resonators. The skin is dry and bumpy with a small number of mucous glands, which allows the amphibian to conserve water and not dry out at a great distance from water bodies. Easily tolerates moisture loss (it can lose up to 30% of its mass without much harm due to water evaporation). The toad stores water in the skin during the night "swimming" when the toad washes in the dew. It protects itself from enemies with a poison that is secreted by parotids - glands located behind the eyes. The poison acts as an emetic and only when the toad is in the mouth of the enemy.
Skin color changes with the season, gender and age. Colors - dark brown, gray, olive, sandy, terracotta.
Large toad - more than 8 cm (females up to 20 cm).
Related article Content of the Common Toad (Bufo bufo)
In captivity, the gray toad lives up to 36 years.
The male voice resembles a "quark-quark-quark".
Inhabits dry places: in the forest, forest-steppe, steppe, parks, gardens, shrubs. The mountains rise up to 3000 m above sea level. The gray toad constantly lives on land, and enters the water (lakes, ditches, reservoirs, slow rivers) only for breeding.
Enemies are birds of prey, snakes, hedgehogs, rats.
Nutrition / food
It feeds on invertebrates: beetles, bed bugs, ants, slugs, worms, insect larvae, spiders, nodules, caterpillars, small snakes and lizards, newborn mice. Notices prey up to 3 meters away. It hunts with a sticky tongue, to which insects stick. While hunting large prey, the gray toad grabs it with its jaws, while helping itself with its paws. Despite his gluttony, he does not eat dead animals.
Mostly nocturnal amphibian. In the daytime, it hides under the roots of trees, stones, in the grass, holes of rodents. Most active in rainy weather, especially at night. The toad moves slowly (in steps), in case of danger it jumps. The most cold-resistant of toads. It hibernates in late September-October. It hibernates under fallen leaves, logs, in burrows and drainpipes, sometimes buried in coastal silt. Wakes up at the end of March, when the temperature is not lower than + 5 ° C. After hibernation, the gray toad migrates to its breeding grounds. In moments of danger, he inflates and takes an aggressive pose.
Leads a solitary life. They gather together only during the breeding season.
Males have thicker forepaws and shorter toes than females. During the breeding season, the membranes between the front toes in males are painted in a darker color. The gray toad reproduces in the same body of water throughout its life. Males wait for females at breeding grounds. Each male has his own territory, which he protects from other applicants. One female lays up to 600-4000 eggs. Laying roe in the form of cords, wrapped around aquatic vegetation, driftwood, etc. A few days after spawning, adult amphibians leave the reservoir, but the largest male remains to guard the eggs.
Season / period of breeding
The breeding season is usually between April and May.
Maturation occurs in 3-4 years.
Only one male mates with one female. The couple swims to the sunny shallow water near the coast. They lie at the bottom for hours, sometimes floating up to take a breath of air. Spawning in gray toads begins on a warm sunny day. During mating, the male covers the female in front of the base of her hind legs with his front paws and emits grunting sobs and trills.
Related article Gray Toad (Bufo bufo), Engl. Common toad
Egg incubation lasts up to 10 days.
The size of newborn larvae is up to 26 mm. Tadpoles swim in flocks of thousands. They are not shy: the suddenly appeared shadow does not frighten them. They are afraid only of strong splashes and vibrations of water, the death of one of them in the teeth of a predator. In the next 2-3 months (depending on the water temperature and the availability of food), the tadpoles grow and leave the reservoir. Young toads are up to 1 cm long.
Benefit / harm to humans
The gray toad destroys pests in fields and gardens. They make up 60% of her diet.