Other common names: European Green Toad; Crapaud Vert; Sapo Verde
Scientific name: Bufo viridis
Often described as Europe’s most attractive toad, these striking creatures make wonderfully-responsive, long-lived pets for both novice and experienced keepers.
The Green Toad’s huge natural range extends from Germany through Norway to central China and Egypt.
The Green Toad is quite adaptable, and is at home in desert oases, forests, alpine meadows, steppes, swamps, farms, city parks, and suburban yards.
Appearance / health:
The Green Toad is stout and rounded in body shape, with an average length of 2-5 inches. They are colored in various shades of green or olive, and marked with green or olive spots on the back and red or orange dots along the flanks
These hardy little creatures may live to 30+ years of age with proper care. Nutritional concerns such as “Short-Tongue Syndrome” (related to a Vitamin A deficiency) and digestive tract blockages that result from feeding large or difficult-to-digest insects, are the most commonly encountered health problems.
Behavior / temperament:
Green Toads are primarily nocturnal, but often become active by day in captivity. They are very responsive, and often hop out in anticipation of a meal when their owner is sighted.
Despite their ready acceptance of human company, toads should be handled only when necessary, and then with wet hands so that the skin’s protective mucus is not removed. Amphibian skin secretions may cause irritations when transferred to their owner’s wounds, eyes, or the mouth.
Green Toads do well in groups if provided enough space and cover. A 20 gallon tank makes a good home for 2-3 adults.
Sphagnum/carpet moss or terrarium liners may be used as the substrate, with cork bark rolls and plastic caves provided as retreats. Green Toads may also be housed in terrariums with a deep layer of soil covered by dead leaves. Live plants will lessen the need for substrate changes.
These hardy creatures can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but fare best when kept at 66-75 F.
The terrarium should be misted twice daily. They need only a simple water bowl, which should be changed daily. Chlorine and chloramine must be removed from water via liquid preparations available at pet stores.
A highly-varied diet is essential. Crickets alone, even if powdered with supplements, will not support long-term health. Earthworms, roaches, sow bugs, crickets, small locusts, butterworms, calciworms, cultured houseflies, silkworms, and other commercially-available insects will all be readily accepted. Mealworms have been implicated in digestive system disorders, and should be avoided.
Most meals should be coated with a powdered Calcium/Vitamin D3 supplement. A vitamin mineral supplement may be used 2-3x weekly.
Males may be distinguished from females by their thickened thumbs (nuptial pads) and smaller size. A cooling-off period of 6 weeks at 50 F (after a week-long fast) may spark breeding activity. A commercial rain chamber, or increased misting, is useful in stimulating breeding behavior.
Gravid female toads deposit strings of eggs on the water’s surface. At 70-75 F, the tadpoles hatch within 3-12 days. They may be reared on a diet of fish food flakes, commercial tadpole pellets, and par-boiled kale. Metamorphosis is achieved in 30-90 days.
Written by Frank Indiviglio