Biodiversity - Amphibians

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The word amphibian means “two lives”. The term applies to creatures such as frogs, toads, and newts, that are able to live on land and in water. Unlike fish, they have lungs and so can take oxygen from the air. They usually have soft, moist, and usually scaleless skin and have to breed in water.

Two types of amphibian can be seen in Churchfield, but both are usually more active at night than during the day.

COMMON TOAD (Bufo bufo)
Photograph by Tim Melling
Photograph by Tim Melling

Common toads have a rough, warty skin, usually brown with darker spots. They crawl along quite slowly, with just an occasional little jump or hop. There food is mainly worms, slugs, and insects, which it catches with a long sticky tongue. In winter a toad will hibernate in a dry place, under a log or stone.

Toads have poison glands on their backs, which helps to keep them safe from predators, such as weasels, foxes, and even cats.

COMMON FROG (Rana temporaria)

Frogs can be found in open woods, hedgerows, fields, and gardens, and most damp habitats. The colour can vary from brown or olive, to orange and even yellow colours.

Frogs move much more quickly than toads, often leaping using their strong back legs. Frogs also have a long sticky tongue, used for catching insects, slugs, and snails to eat. Frogs also hibernate in winter, sometimes in a sheltered place on land, often under a log. But they may also return to a pond and hibernate in the mud at the bottom.

Photograph by Tim Melling
Photograph by Tim Melling