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Amphibians on the River Annan
Annandale Estates, St Ann's
Tel: 01576 470600
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There are six species of amphibian in Scotland and all of them can be found in or around the River Annan Catchment area. The six species you can find are common frog, common toad, natterjack toad, great crested newt, palmate newt and smooth newt. Amphibians breed in water but they also need to keep their skin moist throughout the year. This requirement means they are often found in damp places such as leaf litter or wet grassland.
Common Frog (Rana temporaria)
Image: River Annan Trust
The most wide spread of all UK amphibians, the common frog is tolerant of a range of habitats and altitudes and can be found all over the catchment. They emerge from hibernation in February/March to breed in ponds, puddles, slow moving burns and almost any areas of shallow water. They generally return to hibernation in October.Common frogs have the ability to breathe through their skin which allows them to hibernate for several months underwater, although they often hibernate on land. Common frogs can live up to 8 years and generally feed on invertebrates which they catch with their long sticky tongues. Tadpoles feed on algae and switch to invertebrates once they have matured into young frogs.
Common Toad (Bufo bufo)
The common toad is widespread throughout the catchment although it has a preference for woodlands and areas with cover. It is more tolerant of dry conditions than the common frog. Toads can be distinguished from frogs by their warty skin and copper coloured eyes with a horizontal pupil. Unlike frogs, toads tend to walk rather than hop. Toads usually spend the day resting in hollows in the ground only coming out at night to stalk their prey before catching it with their long sticky tongue. Their food includes a wide range of invertebrates such as flies, slugs and worms. The toads skin produces a toxin that burns the mouth of animals if they attempt to eat it. Although grass snakes and hedgehogs are able to tolerate this. Toads are long lived and have been known to live up to 40 years.