Early in the spring, toads gather en masse to the ponds they were born in to go about their noisy and sometimes boisterous courtship over a couple of weeks. Once the spawn is laid, the adults hop off again, leaving their tadpoles to their own luck. Over the spring and summer those tadpoles will have been eating and growing, going from vegetarians to hungry meat eaters, and exchanging their tail for legs. By July, they are ready to leave the water and go make their way onto dry land. All together.
If you’ve never experienced the sheer numbers of these tiny amphibian youngsters leaving their birth ponds for the first time, you’re in for quite a surprise!
Find toadlets near you
The common toad is found throughout Britain, so you shouldn’t be too far from a place where toads breed, but the places below are our special spots:
See tens of thousands of tiny toadlets setting out from the margins of Llanbwchllyn Lake, near Builth Wells in Powys. This usually happens in early July and takes place over a day or two when the roadway is covered in a seething mass of dark mini-amphibians – so it's best to park your car some distance from this lovely lake!
In Derbyshire, Oakerthorpe (or should that be Croakerthorpe?) Nature Reserve has a pond platform ideal for spotting not only toads, but frogs and common newts too. You may even be lucky enough to come across a grass snake!
What to look out for
Tread carefully – the tiny toadlets are well-camouflaged, making them hard to spot until they leap in the grass ahead of you.
If you can't get to these places
In the spring listen out for their courting croaks, and look for the spawn laid in strings rather than the big globular masses of frogs. If you find a place where toads breed, revisit later in the summer and you may be lucky enough to witness the exodus.
More wildlife experiences
From seeing colourful wildflowers to spotting magnificent birds of prey, we can help you get closer to wildlife across the UK.