Can you tell the difference between a frog and a toad? Do you know what a natterjack toad looks like? And which of them runs like a mouse? Did you know that frogs shriek and toads never do? Or that frogs hibernate at the bottom of ponds, breathing oxygen from the water through their skins? That frog eggs are 100 times the size of human ones? These are some of the curious facts you find in "Frogs and Toads". British species may not be so queer as foreign ones that eat their own eggs, turn their stomachs into growbags and regurgitate fully formed froglets, but they have some odd habits: male frogs sometimes embrace females for weeks or even months before spawning, occasionally causing the death of the female in the process; some tadpoles get stuck and never turn into frogs; and one nineteenth-century frog is reputed to have lived in the skirting board of a house in Kingston and basked by the fireside, lounging against the family cat. Trevor Beebee's informative and amusing text and Guy Troughton's entertaining illustrations cover all aspects of the behaviour and life style of frogs and toads (and newts).
But frogs and toads are disappearing. In much of Britain they are already rare--down to one-fiftieth of prewar numbers--mainly because of the loss of ponds and hedgerows. This book tells you how you can help in their conservation: by participating in toad patrols over busy roads at breeding time, or providing a garden pond, now one of their most important habitats. Practical advice is given on construction, siting and stocking of a suitable pond; gardeners will be glad to hear that frogs and toads eat many garden pests, including slugs and snails.