Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Reptiles & amphibians

Common toad (Bufo Bufo)

Description

This robust toad tends to reach lengths up to 11.2 cm in males and 18 cm in females. Bufo bufo is generally brown and has a variation of splotches and stripes in shades of yellow, red, green, grey and/or black. Its eyes have a horizontally oval pupil with a distinct red iris. The skin has a warty complexion along the top of the toad and the warts end in a pointy tip, often resulting in a spiny appearance. Preyed upon by many species, this toad has evolved antipredator behaviours such as expanding its body by inhaling air, exposing the back of its head while secreting toxins.

Habitat

Found throughout much of Europe, this toad is abundant in many types of environment including forest, scrubland, grassland and alpine habitats and may also be found in modified habitats. Spawning occurs in waterbodies, ranging vastly in size, from lakes and rivers to ditches and puddles.

Diet

As adults the common toad is primarily insectivorous. Tadpoles are omnivorous, consuming detritus, algae, plankton, aquatic plants and arthropods.

Protection status

This species is listed as “Least Concern” by IUCN Red List.

Interesting Fact

A defence tactic of the Common toad is to puff themselves up and lower their hind legs, making themselves look larger than they really are. When wounded, tadpoles release a substance into the water which alarms the other tadpoles allowing them to escape to safety.

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