We are lucky enough to have a few species of amphibian — amazing creatures of adaptation that are able to survive both in water and on land. One of the most recognised creatures in this group is the frog, which is known for hopping around garden lawns and munching on flies. But what about its relative the toad? Does it too hop when on land?

The toad is, at best, a bit of a grumpy looking creature. Heavy eyebrows make it look constantly ‘un-amused’ whereas the frog looks bright, perky and inquisitive. Toads also have much bumpier skin than frogs. The two species can be found existing together in garden ponds as they have two very different escape methods when faced by a carnivore.

Whereas the frog will leap away from potential danger, such as herons, the toad prefers to stand his ground. Toads are actually slightly toxic which makes them fairly distasteful to birds and snakes that will try to eat them. Even the jet black tadpoles are toxic. But this doesn’t put off all predators though, as grass snakes will still try to eat a toad if given the chance.

When approached by the snake, the toad has a last resort: it will puff itself up and raise it’s body off the ground. This makes it look too big and aggressive for the snake to swallow.

Because of all this defence, toads prefer not to exert too much energy when moving around. They simply waddle across the land, but this can put them in great danger from humans. Busy roads are a real hazard for toads, particularly in the breeding season. Thankfully, there are many groups working extremely hard up and down the country to protect these hardy creatures, so the next time you find a toad in the road, why not give it a helping hand to the other side.

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