Natterjack Toad

The Natterjack Toads is a species of toad that is commonly found in different parts of Europe. They are noted for their distinct calls and ability to run at high speeds. They have numerous features that make them unique among toads. Read on to learn more about them.

Natterjack Toad

Natterjack Toad

 

Natterjack Toad Description

Here is a brief description of Natterjack Toads.

Body: These toads have a distinct flat body with partly webbed feet and short limbs.

Size: The average size of these frogs is around 6-8 cm, even though the male frogs may grow as long as 10 cm.

Head: The head has got 2 large parotoid glands that are located right behind their eyes.

Natterjack Toad

Natterjack Toad

Color: Natterjack toads have got numerous warts on their dorsal sides that typically have dark brown, red or green coloration. The general color of the dorsal half of their bodies may be olive, grey or brown. There is a bright and prominent yellow line that runs from their snouts to their backs. The males have off-white throats that are smeared with shades of purple or blue. The underbellies have a white creamy coloration with numerous dark green spots.

Eyes: The Natterjack toads have golden or green eyes with horizontal black pupils and black irises.

Natterjack Toad Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata
Order: Anura
Class: Amphibia
Family: Bufonidae
Genus: Epidalea
Species: E. calamita
Scientific Name:Epidalea calamita

Natterjack Toad Distribution

Natterjack toads are widespread in around 17 European countries and various other locations in different parts of the world. They are also found in Ireland where it is the sole toad species that is native to the country.

Natterjack Toad

Natterjack Toad

They are also found in numerous other locations across the United Kingdom. Natterjack Toad
Scotland specimens are found in plenty. In the east, these toads can be found as far as Belarus and Ukraine.

Habitat

These toads are very common in open grassland areas and fields that are dominated by the presence of sandy soils. They mainly create burrows in the soil for making their homes. They can also be spotted in lowland heaths, salt marshes and sand dune systems. During the mating season, they can be seen in the shallow temporary ponds where they use the water for their breeding purposes. However, since these toads are not able to swim well, they steer clear of deep waters.

Natterjack Toad Diet

These toads typically feed on small invertebrates like worms, ants, mollusks, woodlice, spiders, moths, ground beetles, small reptiles and certain other creatures. Tadpoles mostly feed on algae during the initial stages.

Natterjack Toad

Natterjack Toad

However, as they grow up, they tend to prefer other tadpoles, dead fishes and various other types of small-sized aquatic animals.

Natterjack Toad Behavior

Check out the common behavioral traits of the Natterjack toads.

  • Like most of the other amphibians in general, the Natterjack toads are nocturnal in their habits and prefer to go for hunting at night.
  • They use their sticky tongues for capturing small insects.
  • These toads are very aggressive and tend to chase their prey before catching and eating them.
  • The male toads typically emit a very loud call for calling the females.
  • These toads hibernate for many months in a year.

 

Natterjack Toad Predators

Natterjack toads are preyed on by numerous types of birds, reptiles and mammals. Birds that feed on these toads include crows, herons and magpies. Some of the other creatures preying on the Natterjack toads include weasels, otters, rats, foxes, great crested newts, grass snakes, stoats and hedgehogs. Fishes, birds, frogs and toads prey on small tadpoles. The tadpoles are also attacked by aquatic larvae of insects such as dragonflies and beetles.

Natterjack Toad Adaptations

Here are some of the major adaptive features of the Natterjack toads.

  • They can use the yellow lines over their backs to camouflage themselves against their natural habitat. This makes it possible for them to hide themselves among the sand sedge plants so that they can protect themselves from being preyed on.
  • While Natterjack toads cannot jump like other species of toads, they can run at a very high speed. This has been made possible by their relatively short hind legs.
  • The parotoid glands present in these creatures secrete a poisonous chemical that effectively deters the predators.
  • These toads have a long breeding season which makes it possible for them to use various temporary pools that can assist in their breeding purposes.

Natterjack Toad Mating Season

The mating season for these frogs lasts from late April to the end of July.

Natterjack Toad Reproduction

Natterjack toads mate in warm waters of numerous temporary ponds. Males make loud calls to attract female toads.

Natterjack Toad

Natterjack Toad

They have got nuptial pads which assist in mating activity. The females lay around 1500- 5000 eggs that are arranged in a string. These eggs are first laid in shallow ponds in double rows. Later the eggs become arranged in a single row.

Natterjack Toad Life Cycle

The eggs of the Natterjack Toads take only about 7- 10 days to hatch. This is because the breeding ponds where they lay their eggs dry up very quickly.

Natterjack Toad Life Cycle

Natterjack Toad Life Cycle

The small tadpoles become toadlets in about 6-8 weeks. These small toadlets are noted for their dark colored bodies with a distinct yellow line present on their backs. The toads become sexually mature by the time they are 3 or 4 years old.

Natterjack Toad Lifespan

These toads can survive in the wild for about 15 years.

Natterjack Toad Hibernation

The Natterjack toads hibernate from late October or early November to end of April. They create burrows in the ground for the purpose of hibernation.

Natterjack Toad Call

The male toads produce a unique mating call with the help of the one and the only vocal sac that is located under their chin. This helps them to produce a rasping or chattering call. They tend to call in groups around the nighttime.

Natterjack Toad As Pets

Natterjack Toads are not kept as pets since it is considered illegal to catch them.Therefore Natterjack Toad sale is strictly prohibited.

Natterjack Toad Conservation

The Natterjack Toad is classified as “Least Concern” by IUCN. Over the last few years, their population has been steadily declining due to habitat destruction and pollution problems. Numerous countries have come forward with laws to protect them.

Natterjack Toad Fun Facts

Have a look at some of these fun facts about these toads:

  • The Natterjack Toad produces a chattering or rasping sound with their vocal sacs. It is this sound that has earned them their name. The Natterjack Toad literally means the toad or jack that chatters or natters.
  • The call of male toads can be easily heard over long distances.
  • They can run in high speeds which is unique among toads. Natterjack Toad running skills are very powerfully developed.
  • These are known to be extremely noisy.
  • It is the only species of toad that is native to Ireland.

Pictures of Natterjack Toad

Here are some of the pictures of the Natterjack Toads.

Natterjack Toad Picture1

Natterjack Toad Picture1

Natterjack Toad Picture2

Natterjack Toad Picture2

Natterjack Toad Picture3

Natterjack Toad Picture3

Natterjack Toad Video


References

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