Toad, or Rana. bufo, L. is the most deformed and hideous of the lower animals. Its body is broad, the back is flat, and covered with a dusky skin marked with pimples; its large belly appears inflated : on account of the short legs, its motions are slow, and its retreat is filthy.
Although the external appearance of this ugly creature inspires disgust, and even horror, yet it is asserted that the eyes of toads are remarkably brilliant. Insects of all kinds, and particularly flesh-maggots, and winged ants, afford food exceedingly grateful to toads. - Nevertheless, these dreaded animals possess no noxious qualities: on the contrary, it has lately been asserted, that they furnish the means of curing Cancers, by suction. Mr. PeNNant, however, questions their efficacy, and remarks, " that they seem only to have rendered a horrible complaint more loathsome."
Unless preyed upon by owls, buzzards, snakes, etc. the toad attains to a considerable age; instances having occurred of its living upwards of 36 years. Formerly, this animal was supposed to possess virtues both medicinal and magical ; but the reputed toad-stones, or bufonites, with all their fanciful properties, have long been exploded.