This is a small toad, rarely exceeding 5cm in length. It has unusual breeding behaviour; the male carries strings of eggs wrapped around its hind legs.
Midwife toads can be difficult to find as, by day they hide away in dark, damp crevices, under large stones or pieces of timber etc. The easiest way to detect and identify this alien is by its distinctive call which sounds like an electronic 'bleep', given on warm evenings from May to September, peaking in July or August.
|Alien call sign|
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Midwife toads have a long breeding season. This means that the tadpole stage is 'staggered'; some tadpoles develop into toads in their first year, whilst others delay until the following spring. Midwife toad tadpoles are present in ponds long after most common frog and toad tadpoles have left, and large midwife tadpoles can be found over the winter. These are not to be confused with common frog tadpoles which, less frequently, overwinter. Again, presence of midwives is best confirmed by the adults' call.
Midwife toads can breed successfully in the UK and a population has been living in
Bedford for over 100 years. They do not seem to travel far - at least under their
own steam. Most known populations are still confined to the Bedford area, but
others have sprung up at scattered locations in England and Wales, usually in gardens
and presumably as a result of being moved by people.