What animals are up to this month… April 2019 edition
With frogspawn spotted in February onwards across the UK, April becomes a significant month for our common toad. March / April are the peak months for common toad breeding and spawning – which is often a few weeks later than our common frog.
Male common toads arrive at ponds before females, with many females arriving with males in amplexus – clinging on to their bodies. Males will stay at ponds for perhaps a month as breeding activity continues, calling mostly at dusk and night, however females may only stay at the pond for a week.
Toadspawn is laid by a female and fertilised by a male – this being laid in a pair of strings often in proximity to submerged vegetation. Much spawning activity may take place on nights of a full moon or close to it. It is thought that the common toads good night vision makes nights with a bright moon a little safer for them when the potential for predators who hunt from scent or sound may be a threat.
We can expect to see tadpoles hatch out from the strings of spawn 2 – 4 weeks later, though this will depend on the weather conditions. After around 16 weeks, these toad tadpoles will have developed front and back legs and will start to leave the pond towards the end of summer.