Common Frog and Common Toad

Our most numerous species

Author: Ralf Kubosch
Author: Ralf Kubosch

The first to appear in spring

The Common Frog belongs to the family of "true frogs". The animals are normally coloured in various shades of brown, but during the breeding season they are often darker, and sometimes even bluish, although this is not as pronounced as in the Moor Frog. Another common name in Germany is "March Frog", which alludes to the fact that this species is the first frog to show up at the spawning waters in early spring. The growling-grunting croaking of male Common Frogs trying to attract a female is a typical sound of spring in wet habitats. The clumps of spawn deposited into the water contain 1000-4000 eggs. Often the spawn of numerous animals merges into a huge carpet. Common Frogs prefer shallow waters that warm up quickly. Also, there should be no fish that could eat the tadpoles. If all goes well, the metamorphosis into mini-frogs, ready to leave the water, is completed after 2-3 months.

The Common Toad is the most common local representative of the "toad" family. It has a distinctly warty skin and is well-camouflaged by its various earthy colours. The skin glands of toads, especially the conspicuous swellings behind the eyes, produce toxic secretions that serve as passive defence against predators, as well as protection against infestation of the skin by microorganisms. However, the venom of the toads is not so strong that it would deter every predator. Particularly adept predators simply turn the toads "inside out" and eat their flesh and organs without ingesting the skin poison.

Shortly after the Grass Frog, the Common Toad migrates to the spawning water. The males try to secure a female as early as possible, by climbing onto one and travelling piggyback. At the spawning water, short, high-pitched calls are often to be heard. These are usually the defensive call of the males, which has the aim of preventing other males from confusing them with a female, clambering onto them and forcing them underwater.

The spawn of Common Toads is not as noticeable as that of the Common Frog. It is attached in long strings to underwater plants.