As we welcome in the New Year, all of our native amphibians and reptiles should be safe and warm in their overwintering sites. The nature and quality of these sites can vary depending on what habitat is available nearby, but one species which doesn’t have to worry about finding a good spot is the Natterjack Toad. Instead, these resourceful toads create their own overwintering sites by digging burrows with their short, powerful legs. These burrows not only keep them warm throughout the cold winter months, but they also provide shade on hot summer days, and make a great hiding spot from predators.
Natterjack Toads are unusual amphibians in that they are specialised to living in coastal, heathland and saltmarsh habitats. The sandy soil in these environments is perfect for digging, and the warm, shallow coastal pools also provide ideal breeding habitat. Unfortunately, Natterjack Toads are rare in the UK and are threatened by the loss of coastal habitats. Protecting these habitats is crucial for the survival of these unique toads!