How many years can a toad live

Common toad profile

The common toad produces a poison in its skin that protects it from many predators.

Latin name: Bufo bufo


  • Size: The common toad is the largest toad in Austria. Males grow up to 9 cm, females up to 11 cm long.
  • Color: We do not have a uniform color. Each of us has a slightly different hue (various shades of brown, yellow and gray, up to reddish tones).
  • Identification: On the back of the head you will surely notice my protruding, paired glands (ear glands), which contain skin toxins to ward off predators. My bronze-colored eyes with their horizontal pupils are also typical. These are the characteristics of the toads.


I am most often found in deciduous and mixed forests, because the landscape there is ideal for common toads. I find prey and hiding places under leaves and roots. It's also great that I can dig deep there in autumn and spend the winter in a kind of rigidity. So that we common toads can reproduce, we need calm waters in the landscape, preferably deep ponds. We visit these in spring to spawn and walk up to two kilometers for this.

Occurrence in Austria

We can be found all over Austria. Maybe even in your garden? Then please do without poisonous pesticides and snail poison very quickly! Thank you very much!

Life expectancy

up to 36 years (in the terrarium), in the wild a maximum of 10 to 12 years.


In early spring (March, beginning of April) we migrate to our spawning grounds in large numbers. When mating in the water (see picture), the female swims around while squeezing out the spawning lines that are inseminated by the male. The spawning cords are wrapped around branches or plants. These spawning lines can be up to four meters long. After a few weeks, black tadpoles develop faster in warmer water than in very cold water. There are 1,000 to 6,000 tadpoles per female. Our pond life is exciting and dangerous. None of us know our parents. We tadpoles are unsupervised in the pond. Our parents left the water after spawning and went their separate ways again.

Life as a tadpole

Favorite food in the pond: plankton, plants and carrion I am prey for the yellow beetle (it also hunts us as larva in the pond) and for dragonfly larvae.

Trick: We are traveling in a swarm, then we look bigger. When a tadpole is bitten, its skin gives off a chemical substance. This is a messenger that says: Warning to everyone! Get out of here quickly!


After a few weeks as a tadpole you can already see my hind legs, the front legs are growing at the same time, but they are still hidden under the skin. The tadpole tail gradually gets shorter and shorter and then disappears completely. My internal organs are also changing. I no longer breathe through my gills, but through my lungs. I'm about an inch tall when I leave the pond with the other little toads. Now our exciting life on land begins! We hop off in all directions. And years later we might meet again while spawning in the pond.


Snails, earthworms, woodlice and beetles. When I see a prey, my sticky tongue pops out in a flash and catches it. I don't chew, but devour my prey as a whole.

The common toad is a prey animal

for snakes, birds of prey and marten species. In the event of danger, I can inflate myself so that I look much taller. For example grass snakes cannot swallow me and my life is saved.


I can climb roots. In contrast to the frog, I don't do big jumps. Young common toads still jump a lot. The bigger and heavier we get, the more love we walk slowly through the area.

Quack common toads actually?

Can you hear me? Only in spring at the pond, when we are spawning, you can hear gentle fips. These are the common toad males. When fighting for females in the water, it can happen that a male common toad clings to another male rather than a female. So that this notices the error, the clasped little man beeps as a warning. This is called the call to liberation. This is how our competitors escape this grip. The females make no sound.

Common toads don't croak.


During the day I usually stay in hiding, under leaves and roots. I like to be out and about during the day in damp weather, at dusk and at night.

The car as the greatest danger

Many of us get run over on the streets while hiking to the spawning area.

Compilation of the profile: Mag.a Daniela Lipka, Association "Animal Welfare Makes School"

Technical review: Andrea Waringer-Löschenkohl, University of Vienna

Many thanks to Georg Barsch for providing the photos.