The Common Toad: Bufo, bufo.bufo

Observations from the “Observer’s book of British wild animals” first published in 1938. It was compiled by W.J.Stoke.

“I found this piece fascinating as it describes the navigational skills of Toads.  There are also other works that suggests that Newts operate in a similar way, making long journeys out of the water but not getting lost.

It is this careful observation over the years that makes me think that what is going on here is fascinating and not easily understood except if these animals have some sense of direction which they can unerringly follow to reach their goals.

Richard Nissen – editor”

The toad has the homing facility well developed.  By the judicious wriggling of his hindquarters he scoops out a hollow in the soil, preferably under a root or stone, so that he can lie without being conspicuous.

In the evening he sets out hunting and may travel some distance; but before morning he is back snugly in his form, where he may be found during the day for many months.

A similar sense of locality is manifested in the choice of ponds for breeding.  Any chance pool, however temporary in character will serve the Frog, but the Toad is more peculiar and has special requirements for a nursery.  Any one who has observed our batrachians during a series of years must have noticed that scores of Toads may be seen in early spring, all converging upon a particular pond, perhaps passing some other piece of water that looks suitable for their purpose.

It is very probable that in such cases the Toads are making their way back to the identical pond in which they first saw the light – a corollary to the case of migrant birds  that find their way back to build nests in the copse or hedgerow where they hatched.

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