Alarmed Edinburgh woman lifts door mat to find monster toad lurking beneath

An Edinburgh woman made a startling discovery when she lifted up her doormat to discover a massive toad with bright red markings on it.

Gaby Jácome, 36, who works as a piano teacher, was returning to her home in East Craigs when she felt something underneath her mat at around noon on Wednesday May 29.

She was alarmed by the bright red markings on the toad and said that at first she was not sure if it may have escaped as a pet and could be dangerous.

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“I was coming home yesterday at around noon and when I moved the mat something suddenly fell,” she said. “When I looked down I realised it was a toad.

“I have never seen a toad outside of a zoo or aquarium and at first I was not sure if it may have escaped or was someone’s pet. If I’ve learned anything from watching Animal Planet or listening to David Attenborough it is that bright colours might indicate danger.

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“This is to keep them safe from predators. But after a quick Google I figured out through the Norfolk Trust that it was a common toad.

“Once I realised this I took a bag and carefully put it in a nearby burn. Of course I washed my hands afterwards and no, I didn't have a rash or hallucinations, so everything was fine.”

According to the Norfolk Trust, a common toad can be identified by its preference for walking rather than hopping, along with its warty skin, which secretes toxins.

On the detection of toads in an area and their conservation status, they said: “Toads are a good indicator of health of a waterbody as they need clean fresh water to breed. Several factors have caused a decline in toad populations.

“Habitat loss, in particular the drainage of wetlands, has had a major effect as toads cannot breed without water. Changes in farming practice have also had an impact.

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“Increased use of pesticides and fertilisers and the regular ploughing of fields create a habitat which is not suitable for foraging adult toads or ones that are hibernating. Toad migration routes to ancestral breeding ponds are increasingly becoming dissected by roads resulting in road casualties.

“A common toad can live to be 40 years old, but faced with so many dangers in the modern world, most will be lucky to reach 10 years.”