The Natterjack Toad (Bufo calamita)
The Natterjack Toad is one of
only two native species of toad found in the UK. It is readily
identifiable by three characteristics by which it differs from
the Common Toad (Bufo bufo).
- It has a thin yellow
stripe down the centre of its back
- It runs rather than
- It has a very loud call
- not unlike a football rattle - which can be heard from
a considerable distance
Once again its prime habitat is dry lowland
heath and coastal dune systems. It is mainly nocturnal, scouring
the ground for the various invertebrates on which it preys.
Typically it never enters water other than in the breeding
season. At that time the males congregate in shallow ponds -
using sometimes brackish wet slacks in dune systems - and call
loudly for females from the shelter of reeds etc growing around
the pond edges.
Apart from all the normal problems with habitat
a further problem from which these toads suffer is the ephemeral
nature of their breeding ponds which often dry out before the
toadlets can metamorphose. Their stronghold is in the North-West
stretching up to Scotland. There are also colonies on the East
a few years ago, only one small colony remained in the South
- and this on the brink of disaster. Again, thanks to management
and reintroduction there are now further colonies and this
delightful little toad has a slightly less precarious foothold.