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Or it might be Mrs Warty – I’m not sure how you tell the gender of a Common toad, and this one wasn’t hanging around to let me have a second look anyway. Those warts aren’t really warts, of course – they’re swellings above glands in the skin that can secrete a poisonous substance that acts as a defence mechanism.

200802 toad (1)

Though they’re not the most attractive of creatures, toads are, according to my Fauna Britannica, ‘highly intelligent, learn quickly and can be tamed, and they are extremely long-lived (40 years at least)’. Apparently, they also have ‘a marked homing instinct and will return to the same resting spot in some damp corner time after time’, so perhaps I need to go back for another look at this one.

200802 toad (2)