European Green Toad Care Sheet
The European green toad, known by its Latin name Bufotes viridis, inhabits various parts of Europe, for example Denmark, Greece and western Russia. These toads are often found in a range of locations including semi-deserts, urban expanses, steppes and mountainous areas. Historically this species roamed eastward into the Middle East, Central Asia and as far as western China! The European green toad has notorious spots of green, dark brown and on occasion red. This gives them an appearance, in my opinion, of a ‘generic’ toad you may have learnt about as a child. However this species is far from generic due to its ability to change colour in response to heat and light changes, as well as their impressive size of around 8 cm! The toads underside is usually white or pale coloured with no spots present.
A European green toad resting on a moss-covered log.
These toads enjoy a varied diet consisting of crickets, mealworms, calci worms, spiders, woodlice or any commercially available feeder insect. Interestingly, there has been reports of European green toads attacking bats, potentially showing that they are capable of consuming larger prey. It is important to gut-load the feeder insects with fruit, vegetables and dandelions as the nutrients from the food will go straight into the toads. Dusting the feeder insects is also an important step to ensure your toad maintains healthy levels of vitamins and calcium. We encourage people to establish natural colonies of insects and invertebrates into the enclosure which will ensure your toad can get an unlimited supply of a varied diet, at no extra cost. Before the toad goes into hibernation, it is advised to feed it wax worms or any other type of high-fat food to help cope with the cooler temperatures in winter.
European green toads will really appreciate a vivarium with plenty of space to explore, dig, swim, lay and bask. Therefore, we recommend a vivarium of size 1 m (wide) x 0.5 m (deep) for a pair or small group. The enclosure should also have 40-50 cm of soil for the toad to burrow down and brumate as well as adequate space for a pond for the toads to lay their spawn. A variety of plant species, logs and stones will help create a more natural, realistic environment for the toad to enjoy. This also makes for great habitats for insects such as ants, spiders and woodlouse: it’s your own microbiome! Remember, the larger the enclosure, the happier the animal, so don’t hesitate to make a larger enclosure. At Celtic Reptile & Amphibian we house all of our animals outdoors in greenhouse enclosures or outdoor vivaria, as this allows vital exposure to the sun and thus, the absorption of UVB light. As touched on previously, this species lives in an array of climates and habitats so enclosure design can be flexible! A relief to some. No external heating supply or UVB bulb is required when outdoors in the UK or Europe. This ensures the animals live the most naturalistic and healthy life possible which can be seen from the stunning colours of our animals! In terms of temperature and humidity, this toad is rather hardy and so can withstand temperatures as low as 10 C and as high as 40 C , with a happy medium of around 25 C. This species loves to bask and so basking temperatures may need to be higher than the rest of the enclosure, however you can achieve this by ensuring your enclosure is on the south facing wall with no sunlight obstruction.
Habitat of the European green toad: forests of eastern Europe.
Mating occurs within the spring months, particularly in late April and later. Each female will lay strings of eggs in shallow pools of water in quantities of up to 20,000 eggs at a time, an incredible feat for such a small animal.