Cricket & Toad Visitors

I get lots of different wildlife in my patch, but sometimes I get to see something that, either I haven’t seen before, or something that does not appear very often. Recently, I have had two lovely such encounters!

Last weekend, I saw something move on the floor in the kitchen. At first I thought it was a grasshopper, but when I caught it and had it on my hand, I realised that it was a cricket of some sort. I was just happy to have a cricket here and I posted a picture of it on Twitter. Within minutes, I had a tweet telling me it was a Roesel’s Bush Cricket. That was pretty amazing as a new species for me, but it got better! This was a rarer, long-winged form that is said to only represent 1% of the population. Apparently they become more common in warm summers. Until the early 20th century, this species was only found on the south-east coast. Recent years have seen a rapid expansion in its range, particularly helped by roadside rough grassland and scrub providing a ‘corridor’ for it to travel along. It favours damp meadows and grassland, but can be found elsewhere, such as my kitchen!

The pale green ‘U’ shape is distinctive and this is a female. You can see the curved ovipositor at the end of her abdomen.

I was thrilled and took a few pictures before releasing it back outside. I will keep my eye out for more of these in the future… although they are easier to see in your kitchen than they are out in the grass!

Just a few days later, I was moving some pots in the garden and I found this huge common toad. My garden is quite damp with lots of foliage and a perfect habitat for toads. This was a beautiful adult, who posed for me before disappearing into the undergrowth.

Toads are actually very different to frogs. You can see this toad has dry and bumpy skin. A frog has much smoother skin, which usually appears quite slimy. A toad’s skin is often dry to the touch. A toad will also crawl as well as jump and its rear legs are shorter than the rear legs of a frog. A toad’s face is usually more rounded than that of a frog as well. The skin is the easiest was to to distinguish between them. I love these amphibians and it is always a delight to find them in the garden.