According to Froglife, toad populations in south-east England have decreased by more than 68 percent since 1986.

Common toads spend the winter lying dormant in places such as compost heaps, beneath log piles or in crevices in walls, sometimes coming out to forage for invertebrates. They are generally nocturnal and emerge on damp, mild nights when the temperature is above 5oC.

In the Bromley area breeding typically occurs in March, sometimes going on into April, but will vary from year to year and according to site and temperature. When toads are mature enough to breed (2-3 years old) they return to the pond where they were originally spawned, travelling up to 400 metres (occasionally as much as 2kms) but if suitable ponds are constructed en route to the original breeding pond these may be used. Males often start to move first and will wait around the pond for females to arrive and then climb on their backs. Toadspawn is laid in long ribbons wound around the underwater stems of pond plants. Toadpoles eat algae and plant matter. They develop into toadlets which emerge from ponds during early summer, usually after rain.

Young toads and adults feed on ants, beetles, snails, slugs and spiders and if they find a good source of food may remain in the same area for long periods. For most of the year they rest during the day in crevices or sometimes dig shallow burrows. Toads secrete an irritant substance from glands in the skin which deters many predators and can also puff themselves up to look bigger when in danger.

Threats to toads in London Borough of Bromley

  • Loss of suitable ponds
  • Loss of suitable terrestrial habitat (scrub, rough grassland, hedgerows, walls with crevices)
  • Habitat fragmentation: death on roads
  • A decline in invertebrate prey
  • Pesticides (indirect effect: decline in invertebrate numbers, direct effect: build up of pesticide within toads from having eaten poisoned invertebrates.

Conservation status

  • Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981: Schedule 5 (as amended) whereby they cannot be removed for sale.
  • NERC Act 2006 (as amended) England Section 41 species
  • Priority BAP Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework
  • London Priority Species (2019)
  • Bromley Priority Species

Actions carried out 2017-2020

Targeted pond surveys carried out annually on Chislehurst Common and golf course, at Scadbury Park and Jubilee Country Park: idverde and Friends of Chislehurst Common.

Citizen science sightings survey arranged and collated 2017-2020.

Toad reports produced annually, distribution maps including breeding ponds produced 2019 and 2020. Sent out to all survey participants, BBPartnership members, Stakeholder & CCP Panel members. Bromley Biodiversity Partnership sub-group.

All records sent to Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL) & Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group (KRAG).

Actions 2021-2026

Action by

Continue Citizen Science borough-wide sightings Survey, advertise survey and publish results annually

Bromley Biodiversity Partnership Sub- group, Friends Forum, Friends Groups

Continue targeted pond surveys for toads and other amphibians on Bromley owned land


Continue targeted pond surveys for toads and other amphibians on Chislehurst Common and adjacent sites where possible. Commence surveys of NT Petts Wood and Hawkwood ponds

Bromley Biodiversity Partnership Sub- group, Friends of Chislehurst Commons, National Trust volunteers led by trained surveyors (see training courses provided by KRAG)

Check Planning Applications in areas between toad breeding ponds and when larger developments are

planned suggest the installation of suitable ponds.


Bromley Biodiversity Partnership

Make installation of ponds a condition of planning permission where appropriate.

LBB Planning Department and Developers

Publicise plight of toads, threats (see above), toad survey and possible actions to residents, schools, sports and community groups through walks and talks, posters etc.


Bromley Biodiversity Partnership Sub- group, all Partnership members

All toad pond management including adjacent terrestrial habitat eg scrub management, verges and shading tree branches etc to be carried out during the winter, never during summer.

 Idverde, Land Managers, Bromley Biodiversity Partnership: all members

Stop pesticide use (including herbicides & fungicides) except in exceptional circumstances so toads can find enough invertebrates and  don’t eat poisoned ones.

 LBB, idverde, Land Managers, Bromley Biodiversity Partnership: all members

Encourage gardening for wildlife to provide shelter, ponds and invertebrate food for toads and easy access between gardens, and between gardens and other greenspaces.

 Bromley Biodiversity Partnership: All members
Work with schools where possible to widen survey and encourage actions to improve conditions for toads.

Bromley Biodiversity Partnership, idverde

Encourage planting of native species rich hedgerows wherever appropriate, in school grounds, parks, allotments, sports grounds etc to provide suitable conditions for invertebrates and protected areas for shelter and winter refuges. See  and 726735/native_plants_for_gardens_v2.pdf  Bromley Biodiversity Partnership: all members including Friends   Groups,  idverde

Manage some areas in parks, gardens etc. as wildflower meadows to maximise number and diversity of invertebrate prey

idverde, LBB, Bromley Biodiversity Partnership: all members including

Friends Groups

 Encourage others to manage some areas as wildflower meadows as above school and sports   grounds.  Bromley Biodiversity Partnership: all members, idverde

Ensure ponds have access which allows toadlets to exit ponds and sufficient cover around ponds (e.g. long grass, scrub, shrubs) to minimise predation by birds

 All land owners and managers incl. LBB, idverde, all Bromley Biodiversity   Partnership members

Encourage ‘untidy’ areas in gardens, allotments and parks with log piles, dead leaves etc to provide resting opportunities.

 Bromley Biodiversity Partnership: all members, idverde
 Avoid strimming near and around ponds in summer when toadlets are leaving ponds  
 Land Managers including idverde, Bromley Biodiversity Partnership: all members
Where possible encourage, join and/or set up toad patrols around breeding ponds in March/April when toads are crossing roads to return to breeding ponds. See  Bromley Biodiversity Partnership


Further information

More about the common toad and how to differentiate them from frogs

Toad report for London Borough of Bromley 2017-2019

Maps showing toad records in London Borough of Bromley 2017-2019