Let's be honest, we can't say that the toad have a good image in the collective unconscious. Its appearance is not very pleasant and it is regularly associated with occult tales; remember the toad slime in witch potions.
And yet! Despite the aversion he may arouse, this cousin of the frog is a efficient garden aid who will be able to help you vegetable garden.
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From the family of bufonidae, the toad is a batrachian vertebrate anuran (i.e. no tail). Unlike the frog, it is a terrestrial amphibian. The designation of "toad "Probably comes from German"krappa Which means "hook« .
The most common species is the common toad (Bufo bufo). However, it is possible to meet other specimens such as the Natterjack toad (Epidalea calamita), the midwife alyte (Alytes obstetricans), the yellow-bellied ringer (Bombina variegata), etc.
The toad is easily identifiable. It has a stocky body as well as a big flattened head. Her skin is covered with pustules. His paws, very little webbed, are arched in front and behind are small; so he cannot make great leaps.
Depending on the species, we can observe certain disparities. For example, the calamite toad is very close to the common toad, but is distinguished by a lighter line along its back. The yellow bellied ringer aptly named, since it sports a pretty yellow color on its underside.
When not out hunting, the toad likes dark and humid places. In winter, he observes a period hibernation and then finds refuge most often underground by burying itself, or in stumps or crevices.
During the breeding season, this terrestrial amphibian is able to make long journeys to find a mating area (from a hundred meters to a kilometer). When she found the right place, the toad then drop his eggs in the water, attached to each other like a cord. After some time, they will give birth to tadpoles which will grow and develop in the water before reaching dry land.
However, the midwife alyte does exception, since the male carries the eggs at the level of his hind legs until they hatch.
Usefulness of the toad in the garden
Carnivorous, the toad is indifferent to fruits or vegetables from the kitchen garden. There is therefore no danger of it attacking your harvests.
Its gastronomic menu consists in fact of insects of all kinds: centipedes, spiders, caterpillars, slugs, snails, etc. So you don't have to look long to find the interest of the toad in a garden or vegetable patch. He is a natural and inexpensive solution to replace pesticides.
Because of the use of pesticides, as well as urbanization increasingly strong reducing the available habitats, the existence of the toad is threatened. The species is therefore protected and listed on the IUCN Red List. If you find any in your garden, protect it as you would a hedgehog.
Welcome a toad to your garden
Although it is a predominantly terrestrial amphibian, the toad has need water, if only for reproduction. You will therefore be more likely to host one if you have a stream (stream, pond, pond, etc.) at your home or nearby.
If he settles for little for take shelter, nothing prevents you from fitting out a home in flipping a tile for example or by making the outlet of the garden tap accessible. There are many ways to protect this precious garden aid.
Pets and the toad: caution
A characteristic of the toad that contributes to its bad reputation is that it secretes a poisonous venom. The latter is released by pressure and does not pass through the skin. So there is no danger in taking it by hand. However, think about wash them well then and above all not to put them in your mouth or touch your eyes in the meantime.
In domestic animals, these are the dogs most affected. The pressure exerted during a bite releases the venom which then comes into contact with the mucous membranes from the mouth. From there it then enters the blood.
The venom attacks the heart and nervous system in particular. When an animal is a victim envenomation, the first symptom is a profuse salivation. If the intoxication is severe, the animal can start To vomit and show signs abatement. Involvement of the nervous system is characterized by tremors, convulsions or a abnormal gait.
If your pet is the victim of envenomation, the first thing to do is to rinse his mouth thoroughly. Afterwards, if symptoms appear, call your veterinarian promptly.
Note : unlike the snake, the toad does not inoculate not its venom voluntarily. The latter is simply secreted and is released only by a mechanical action linked to pressure. So there is no will to attack or aggression from the amphibian.