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Colin says: Common Toads adopt a defence posture when threatened, raising themselves up and inflating their lungs to appear larger. Most toads are primarily nocturnal, and tend to rest under large stones, or in crevices and burrows during the day. Their short limbs mean that they are unable to leap very far, and usually only do so as a startle response before going into their normal running gait a bit like a lizard. They are also poor swimmers and are known to drown quickly in deep water if they cannot get ashore. The toads usually emerge from hibernation in february (usually a month before the local natterjacks) and head off for their breeding sites. Male toads arrive at the breeding sites first; which are usually in very shallow water and are often brackish. They then call to the females and climb on top of them to copulate. The females spawn strings of perhaps 3000-4000 dark coloured eggs, visibly larger than those of the natterjack, and which hatch within a matter of days. Depending on the environmental temperature, metamorphosis can take anywhere between 5 and 16 weeks.
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