As we enter the final month of the year our amphibians and reptiles should be overwintering and sheltering from the cold. Unlike many animals which hibernate during the winter months, our species do not take part in true hibernation, instead they overwinter or ‘brumate’ which means they enter a state of reduced activity.
They will take shelter in extremely cold weather in cosy places such as hibernacula, log piles, hedgerows, rockeries or under leaf litter. If the climate is warm enough though, they will venture out and forage for food.
Some amphibians overwinter in ponds such as male frogs that bury themselves in silt at the bottom. They shut down and absorb oxygen from the water, so having native plants in ponds helps to produce oxygen through photosynthesis. These plants need sunlight though, and so it can be helpful in winter to carefully clear any snow which is covering the pond to provide sunlight for plants.
Even some tadpoles can overwinter, but this is considered rare, and they do not have a high chance of survival.