Midwife toad

midwife toad-wikipedia

The Common Midwife Toad (Alytes obstetricans) is a species of frog in the Discoglossidae family. It is found in Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom (although, in the latter, only as an introduction).

Its natural habitats are temperate forests, subtropical or tropical dry forests, temperate shrubland, rivers, freshwater lakes, freshwater marshes, intermittent freshwater marches, temperate desert, arable land, pastureland, and urban areas. It is threatened by habitat loss.


During the day, the midwife toad hides under stones and logs or in underground tunnels. It often hides in dry, sandy soil, which it finds easier to dig into using its forelegs and snout. It emerges at dusk to forage for food, but always returns to the same hiding places before dawn. During the winter, the common midwife toad hibernates in its hole or in a burrow that has been deserted by a small animal.

Food and feedingEdit

The Midwife toad crawls around the area close to its hiding place at night to search for food. The toad uses the end of its long, sticky tongue to pick up prey, which includes beetles, crickets, flies, caterpillars, centipedes, ants and millipedes. Tadpoles feed on vegetable matter. They chew with tiny, hornyteeth. Young toads eat smaller sizes of the same prey that adults feed on. When the egg ready to hatch the male leaves them near the water.


The back of the midwife toad is covered with small warts. These warts give off a strong smelling poison when the toad is handled or attacked. The poison is so powerful that the toad has few enemies or predators. The poison also helps to keep the egg strings on the male's back safe from attack. The tadpole does not possess the poison, and therefore falls prey to fish and insects.


The Majorcan midwife toad has adapted to the harsh, dry conditions of this Spanish Island. it is found only in deep canyons in the northern mountains. Its body has evolved to become more flattened, which enables the toad to squeeze into narrow crevices in the rocks of its habitat. The only moisture available is in small, rain-filled puddles on ledges. Tadpoles are born and develop in these pools. Fossils of these species have also been found in Europe.

Introdution to the UK

These toads have been introduced into the UK and there are now about 20 breeding pairs.

There are successful population in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire and possibly in many other places. They do not appear to be a threat to our native species.

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