Wednesday, 23 June 2010

A Common Toad

Not just any common old toad - the Common Toad (Crapaud Commun in French, or Bufo bufo in the scientific).

We came home from picking up some stones from Alex and Nicole's last night (the longest day of the year, and quite possibly the first day this year where sitting outside at 11.00pm was an option) to find this rather large common toad sitting by our back door.
The main distiguishing feature for these toads is a copper coloured eye with horizontal pupils. This is a female - you can tell from the size, a fully grown male only reaching 8cm. She was eating ants, slapping them off the wall with her tongue.

In common with all native amphibians in France this toad is completely protected (Protection Nationale, Art.1). We hope she has taken up residence in our garden somewhere and develops a liking for slugs. Not that we will be picking her up - common toads excrete a toxin called bufagin, although grass snakes and hedgehogs are apparently immune.

Simon

5 comments:

  1. What a surprise, we have both posted items on toads in our French blogs. Thanks to Nadege I have now found your site. Diane

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  2. What a great picture. She is really beautiful.

    Supposedly coffee grounds repel snails, but I've only had moderate success with them.

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  3. Diane: Welcome to the blog :-)

    Diogenes: My hostas had several centimetres deep of coffee surrounding them last year and still got munched to the ground.

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  4. A jar lid turned upside down and filled with beer will attract and dispatch snails (provided it's placed on the ground near the snails). And since the jar lid doesn't hold much, you can drink the rest of the beer.

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  5. Walt: we tried this. Unfortunately we used the cheapest nastiest beer we could find and the snails simply ignored it! In the end I had to throw the other cans out, as there was no way we were drinking it either. I was reluctant to waste my good Belgian beer on them, but it's interesting that they can presumably distinguish good beer from bad.

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