Saturday, 3 January 2015

Day 63 - On The Tenth Day of Nature

On the Tenth Day of Nature my true love sent to me, ten Toads a-leaping, nine Damsels Dancing, eight Maids a-milking , seven Swans a-swimming, six Geese a-laying, five Goldeneyes, four Calling Birds, three brown Chickens, two Collared Doves and a Partridge on a Board Walk.

Hi all, today's Day 63 or the Tenth Day of Christmas. The original verse for today goes like this. On the Tenth Day of Nature my true love sent to me, ten Lords a-leaping, nine Ladies Dancing, eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming etc.

My nature version (as you can see above) adds in the phrase 'ten Toads a-leaping'. Again I've had to be a bit creative as I've already covered frogs, toads move by crawling, not leaping but I hope close enough. So without further ado, here are some facts:

Common Toad (Bufo bufo)
  • Toads are distinguished from frogs by their drier, rougher skins, some say warty. They also have shorter hind legs and flatter heads. Also I got a comment on my frog post from DaveyMan that said frogs have a pointy nose, and toads have a blunt nose. (Thanks DaveyMan).
  • Common Toads have glands on their backs which produce a toxin which makes them taste bad to predators.
  • Adult males grow up to 8cm in length, females are larger and can grow up to 13cm in length.
  • Toads are shy, nocturnal animals that like damp, dark places and hunt at night for insects. grubs, slugs and worms.
I found this little fella crossing a road in Northumberland
heading towards the beach with a load of his mates.
(I was quite little then :-)
  • If a toad is threatened it reacts by inflating itself and going up on all fours to give it a larger appearance. After this it moves towards the predator as if it is charging.
  • There has been concern in recent years about the declining number of toads.
Migration of Toads:
  • It's estimated that around 20 tonnes of toads are killed on UK roads every year :-( This happens during their annual migration which they do to breed.
  • Common Toads have particular places where they breed, and migrate back to same breeding ponds each year. They always follow the same routes and cross roads which is why they often get squashed. :-(
  • There are lots of places in the UK where people help toads cross roads, you can find a list of them here. One of these is at Cod Beck at Osmotherley which is the closest one to us and this year I'm hoping to be able to help with this now that I'm old enough. Expect some posts on this in the future.
  • In 2013 toad patrols helped almost 81,000 toads to cross roads. Look out for a toad patrol near you and see if you can make a difference.
Well I hope that's enough to give you an appetite to find out more about these amphibians, here's some links to more information if you do:

Hope you enjoyed, 


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