Once spawning is completed in the spring months, toads spend the next few months on land, leaving their aquatic habitat behind. Some toads finish breeding in May but some do not finish until early June. However, from the end of the breeding season, toads leave the safety of the water.
Toads are terrestrial in summer and have to ensure that their skin doesn’t dry out. Toads have to be careful of predators in summer, and poisonous paratoid glands on their sides help to keep them safe.
If you want to find out how toads survive during the summer please read on. There is also a great video below.
Toads are more active at night than during the day in summer. As with all amphibians, toads are cold-blooded, so do need to warm up in the warm sunshine of a summers day.
Toads can only spend a few minutes at a time in the sun as they will start to overheat. If they overheat too long they can die. To prevent this, toads have moist skins which along with the evaporation of their skins cools them down. Toads have to keep a balance between keeping warm from the sun and too cold from the evaporation of moisture.
Toads have moist skins and have various methods to keep them this way. Toads will stay near to water in the summer so that they can swim or drink from it. Toads have mucous glands below the skin which secretes and keeps the skin moist.
Toads shed their skin much like snakes do over the summer which keeps the skin in good condition. Toads will eat the transparent skin which they take off with their feet.
On a particularly hot summer day, toads can be seen burrowing into sandy soil to avoid the heat. Toads use their long legs to bury themselves which they can do very fast. They conserve moisture by sheltering from the sun before coming once the sun has gone down.
If you find a toad in your garden during the summer then you may notice that they do the same things day after day. Toads stick to their habits in the summer and are very predictable.
Toads will feed in the same place for many weeks at a time, catching food from a favorite place such as a rock.
Toads are also predictable in where they hide or bury themselves during the summer. They can often be found in the same place at the same time each day. Once a few weeks have passed the toad will then select a new place to feed and hide during the day. The toad will continue their predictable habits for a few more weeks before again moving on.
Toads will almost eat anything that moves. They have been known to eat insects, earthworms, spiders, along with small mammals such as mice and small species of snakes.
If you have a garden then a toad can be your best friend when dealing with pests such as slugs, snails and ants.
Toads use both stealth and quickness to feed. They wait until they see their prey moving within its range. Once the insect is in range they use their tongue which is modified for catching insects.
The tongue extends forwards very quickly and catches the prey on the tip which is sticky. They then flick it back into the mouth when it is squashed between the jaws. Toads do not have teeth, instead using bony jaws to crush prey.
During the summer there are many predators that will feed on toads. Stoats are one of the small mammals that will feed on toads during summer, as will many species of bird including gulls, crows, jays herons and egrets.
Toads do not seem like they are the most aggressive animals and indeed they are not, but they do have defense mechanisms which they use.
Toads have poison glands which can be located just behind the eyes on either side of their body. These glands are called the paratoid glands and can be seen as oblong bulges. If a predator tries to eat the toad, they produce a secretion which is a mild form of poison. Although not deadly, this will cause inflammation to the skin and is enough to put off most predators.
Some toads can grow quite large and another defense mechanism they use is to inflate themselves to make themselves appear even larger. They can inflate themselves to being almost round , with their legs outstretched and their head lowered.
By summer, the tadpoles are ready to leave the water where they grew from eggs. After rainfall, they usually leave the water as small toads. Even when young, toads are not as reliant on water as frogs and can live on land in their first year. The young grow over the summer by feeding on insects, worms, spiders, and slugs.