As we head into October and autumn our amphibians are finding places where they can overwinter.
The common toad will have spent most of the summer in its terrestrial phase where they have left their ponds in search of food. During daylight hours, they will have remained hidden under logs, stones, or leaf litter and will only appear at dusk and after dark to forage.
They typically move between 50-500m away from their ponds for foraging and their usual tactic is to sit and wait for food items to pass by. However, when autumn arrives, our common toad will return to areas near to their breeding pond (common toads always return to the breeding ponds where they were born). Before reaching the pond, they will find somewhere nearby to overwinter, this could be a hibernaculum, rockery, a hole in the ground or even a wall. Here they will stay to keep warm in the colder months.
The common frog is similar to the common toad wherein they will also begin overwintering in similar sites in October and November. Timing depends on location, altitude, and average daily temperature. Most common frogs do not emerge until February, however, on occasion the common frog is seen in mid-winter when weather conditions are milder.
The natterjack toad starts to disappear and overwinter a little later than the common toad and common frog, with it disappearing in late October to overwinter from November onwards. Where they choose to hibernate is still a bit of a mystery! but it could well be in sand dunes, in log or rock piles or mammal burrows.
Always remember to record your amphibian and reptile sightings on our FREE Dragon Finder app. All of the data collected is sent to the National Biodiversity Network Atlas. You can download the app here.