Amphibians

What are we doing in Shamley Green to help our amphibians survive?

During the amphibian spring migration we help toads, frogs and newts to get to their breeding ponds safely. We pick them up from the road and transport them in buckets to their ponds.

You may have spotted us in the road with our hi-vis vests, torches and buckets.  We do this in the evenings and often in heavy rain because amphibians are nocturnal and they love wet weather!

For details of the toads, frogs and newts we have helped since 2019 click here.

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What is a toad crossing?

A toad crossing is a section of road that is used by toads and other amphibians. Despite the name a toad crossing is not a place where toads walk from one side to the other in the sense of pedestrian crossings. Rather it comprises one or several lengths of road that toads and other amphibians travel along, sit on and walk or hop across. As their migratory route is intercepted by roads this journey is fraught with many perils for them.


 

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Why do the toads cross the road?

Common toads, frogs and newts are migratory animals. They migrate in order to mate and produce offspring. The males are smaller than the females. During mating, male frogs and toads climb onto the back of females and hold on. If the males catch the females en route to the pond they may get a lift all the way! 

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Why do they need to get to the ponds to mate and produce offspring?

The first life stage of amphibians is aquatic when they breathe through their gills. They then undergo metamorphosis: replace their gills with lungs and take on their adult terrestrial form. At this point they leave their ponds in search of a suitable habitat. Once they have reached sexual maturity they return to their native ponds in the spring in order to breed.

 

Where are the toad crossings in Shamley Green?

There are currently three known toad crossings in Shamley Green. One is in Woodhill Lane / Madgehole Lane. The second comprises the roads close to the village ponds and the third comprises the roads around Lords Hill Common, Long Common and Norley Lane. To see what we have rescued since 2019 click here.

 

Can I help out with toad patrols?

If you would like to volunteer as a toad patroller or if you know of any other places where toads are crossing please contact us. We would love to hear from you.

 

How can we make our gardens welcoming to toads and other amphibians?

There are lots of ways we can welcome amphibians into our gardens and help them to find shelter and also food. You can cut your grass less frequently to avoid injuring them. Also adult amphibians eat invertebrates such as slugs, worms and all sorts of bugs and flies, so avoid using slug pellets, pesticides and weedkillers.

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Interesting Facts About Amphibians   - Did you know?...

 

  • There are seven native species of amphibian in the UK. Two of them, the Natterjack Toad and the Pool Frog, are very rare and only exist in a few locations. A third, the Great Crested Newt, is also rare but more widespread. The remaining four might very well visit your garden at times: Common Frog, Common Toad, Smooth Newt and Palmate Newt.

  • Amphibians have very special skin that allows them to absorb oxygen and water. When an amphibian needs a drink it will sit in a puddle or take a dip in a pond. As long as the amphibian’s skin is moist it can assist the animal with its breathing. For this reason frogs, toads and newts can stay under water for much longer than if they had to rely only on their lungs to breathe.

  • The downside of being able to take in oxygen and water through their skin is that amphibians can dehydrate very quickly in dry conditions. Therefore amphibians need moist surroundings, access to water and plenty of protective cover in order to stay alive.

  • The adult amphibians’ diet consists exclusively of live invertebrates. Their feeding response is motion-triggered, which means that they will not eat anything that is dead, but only live, moving invertebrates.

  • In frogs and toads the females grow larger than the males. During mating, male frogs and toads climb onto the back of females and hold on. This position is called amplexus. The males often catch the females en route to the pond. In those cases the females will carry the males all the way. If the male is much smaller than the female he will simply sit on top and enjoy the ride. But in cases where a comparatively large male is holding onto a smaller female he will use his back legs to assist with the walking. Once in the pond the male helps the female to expel the eggs and fertilises them. Frogs lay their eggs in clumps whereas toads produce egg strings that they wrap around the vegetation.

 

  • In newts the male entices the female by displaying tail waving. He deposits a semen package which the female then picks up with her cloaca. She lays each egg individually in the pond by wrapping it in a leaf.

 

  • The newly hatched toad larva is called a tadpole, whereas a newt larva is called an eft. Efts grow legs very early on and thus spend most of their larval stage having legs. On the other hand in tadpoles the growth of legs indicates that they have entered the stage of metamorphosis.

If you spot any amphibians, please record a sighting at:

http://surrey-arg.org.uk/SARGWEB.php?app=CasualSighting

 

Useful Links

http://surrey-arg.org.uk/SARGWEB.php?app=Home

https://www.froglife.org/

https://www.arc-trust.org/

https://freshwaterhabitats.org.uk/