By November all of our amphibian species in Scotland should be overwintering as temperatures drop. However this doesn’t mean all of our amphibians are necessarily doing the same thing. Milder patches of winter will see amphibians become active again, but here we explore amphibian whereabouts should the cold persist….
Amphibians on land – Our frogs, toads and newts will seek out suitable areas of stable humidity and temperature safe from predators to spend the winter months. These may be under rocks, in compost heaps, amongst piles of deadwood, amongst loose earth or old burrows, in piles of rubble and stone or under sheds and greenhouses. There is a huge variety of places they may use but do be careful before lighting any bonfires of logs and leaves that it isn’t an amphibian’s home!
Amphibians in the water – What can be overlooked though are the amphibians spending winter in the water. Male common frogs in particular are known to spend colder months dormant at the bottom of the pond as they shut down and breathe through their skin. Larvae that failed to develop in the spring and summer will also be spending their winter in the water too. Provided a pond doesn’t completely freeze and still has suitable oxygen levels the larvae can survive and complete metamorphosis in early spring. This may ultimately give them a size advantage over the larvae that developed within the previous summer.