During the 39 years I’ve lived at this house I have seen several frogs and toads passing through the garden. I was never able to say any actually lived here. Well now (6th October 2017) I’ve found a Common Toad hiding behind my shed and living here.
My Experience With This Common Toad Hiding Behind My Shed
I found this common toad hiding (as toads do) between some tanalised rafters laid on the ground behind my shed. These are used as duck boards to keep things I store there off the ground. The timbers are about 75mm × 50mm with a 25mm gap between them. You can see it in the following picture along side some slug eggs2:
Sitting on top of these timbers is an old steel dustbin (trash can), plant pots and some plastic bags of aggregate. I found the common toad hiding in the area under the bags when I moved them. It looked very cosy in its lair.
I was making space behind my shed so I could stand there and paint it with preservative. I’ve no idea how long the toad had been there or whether it was able to get in and out of the space. It may have been a prisoner although I suspect it gained access by crawling for up to a metre under the bags and between the timbers.
The dustbin’s contents are heavy (it’s used for storage) so I didn’t move it initially, I painted around it. Later when I had to move it, to paint where it stood, I noticed the toad had moved. When I couldn’t see it so I assumed it had gone under the dustbin.
I Trod On The Common Toad Hiding Under The Bin
I could have dragged the dustbin along the timbers to move it but I realised I might do serious harm to the toad so I engaged my wife in the operation. Between us we lifted the dustbin by its two handles and moved it towards her. Unfortunately I couldn’t see the area beneath my feet and when I stepped forward, into the space previously occupied by the bin, I felt the toad under my right foot.
The toad was fortunate that I didn’t put my full weight down immediately. I felt it wriggle and shouted, “I’m standing on it!” I was able to take the weight off my right foot and the toad leapt out of the way and got down between two of the timbers. It wriggled, turned around and adjusted its position for a few seconds. I was concerned that I had done permanent harm to it. When it finally settled I felt happy that it was probably OK. It must have been up in the plinth area of the dustbin and sitting on top of the timber.
The toad remained exposed while I finished my painting. When I had finished I left my Common Toad hiding under an upturned plant pot which I placed over it as I returned the items back behind my shed.
Was My Common Toad Hiding?
Well I suspect it didn’t want to be seen by the slugs. Toads eat slugs. A good reason to have it around. It hadn’t eaten the eggs. Maybe it was waiting for them to put on some weight first.