Hot Weather Warning – Amphibians & Reptiles
Many people are enjoying the sizzling heat and sun that has now arrived in the UK. It is important to note that these extreme temperatures pose a risk to some of our UK wildlife. Our UK amphibian species struggle in high temperatures, particularly the tiny froglets and toadlets that are just emerging from their tadpole phase.
The most obvious and useful way to help these animals is to #BuildAPond, giving these animals and other wildlife ready access to water, for drinking and bathing. But building a pond doesn’t have to be a big nor expensive endeavour, and small ponds (e.g. bucket-sized) can be just as effective. Read more about building a pond with our FREE online guide Just Add Water check out our activity sheets in our Idea Zone.
In these heat extremes, a quick 2-minute job of putting out a small container or dish filled with fresh water will also help wildlife in your garden. If it’s a deep dish, don’t forget to add in a ramp or some stones to allow any animals that may fall in to have a way to climb out. It is best to fill with water from a water butt rather than the tap, if you have one. However, if tap water is your only source, remember to leave it standing in a bucket for at least 24 hours so any chemicals can dissipate and the temperature can balance out.
Frogs, toads, birds and hedgehogs all eat small invertebrates like worms, which in this hot weather burrow deeper down into the dry soils. With this in mind, it is important to keep plants and soils damp to allow these predators to access their vital food source.
In addition to adding water into your outdoor space, keeping areas wild and sheltered can potentially save amphibian lives. Rockeries and log piles both provide shade to amphibians in the garden, where often the soil beneath will remain damp and the temperature much cooler that the outside.
Even reptiles, like common lizards and grass snakes that can often be found basking in the sun, need shaded areas for relief from high temperatures. So log piles and rockeries are equally important for these animals to escape from the sun’s rays.