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Dublin: 8 °C Saturday 8 August, 2020

'Rare' common toad captured in Dublin following public appeal

The common toad is native to other parts of Europe but not Ireland and it is not yet known what the effect it could have on native species.

Trevor was the first Common Toad discovered in Ireland.
Trevor was the first Common Toad discovered in Ireland.
Image: HSI/Twitter

A RARE NON-NATIVE toad has been discovered in Stepaside following a campaign from the Herpetological Society of Ireland. 

The common toad is native to parts of Europe, Asia and Africa but not Ireland, and it is not yet known what the effect, if any, its presence in Ireland has on our own native species.  

The Herpetological Society of Ireland (HSI) launched a campaign in June appealing for the public’s help in capturing the amphibians for research. 

Rob Gandola, a senior science officer at the HSI said the toad, named Trevor, was the first one to be collected, and the society is asking the public to be vigilant and notify them immediately if they spot one in the wild. 

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1′s Morning Ireland programme, he said: “We are asking people in local communities, generally in Stepaside because that seems to be our ground zero, to keep an eye out for common toads by providing ways to distinguish from our native common frogs. 

“Trevor was the first one that has been collected and submitted to us as part of this campaign, so Trevor is not going to the face of the Toad in the Hole campaign. 

“We definitely think there is more, the big problem is we don’t actually know how many more there is and how far they’ve actually spread out along the foothills of the Dublin mountains.”

The natterjack toad is native to Ireland, specifically found in Kerry, and is the most endangered amphibian in the country. 

“The easiest way to tell the difference between the common toad and the native natterjack toad is that natterjacks will have a very obvious yellow stripe running down the middle of their back. 

“You’ll see it immediately, it is very easy to distinguish,” Gandola said. 

“As far as we know there are no common toads anywhere in Kerry which is wonderful. In terms of trying to tell common toads from common frogs; the toads have much more warty skin and that’s the way toads always been described. 

“[They have] kind of dry, warty skin and big glands at the back of the eyes, and that’s where they make their bufotoxin, which is a chemical they make to defend themselves from attacks from other wildlife.

“We don’t know what effect, if any, they’re having on native wildlife populations. We don’t know if they are vectors for any of these amphibian diseases that are rife across Europe.

“It’s really important that we get a handle on population size, population structure, what they’re eating, and then down to whether they are disease carriers or not.”

Members of the public who discover the common toad in Ireland can contact the Herpetological society here

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