During periods of hot weather when temperatures exceed 30°C, amphibians are at increased risk of dehydration and desiccation. It is normal during these periods for amphibians to either take refuge in water bodies or seek sheltered and cool terrestrial habitats. Common frogs and newts may still be in ponds so are able to withstand the high temperatures. However, common toads are largely terrestrial during the summer so finding suitable places for shelter is crucial. Habitats such as loose damp soil, leafy shrubs, logs and piles of dead leaves are all ideal habitats for amphibians such as toads, newts and frogs. You can help amphibians in your garden in several ways:
- If you have a pond, ensure that there are some areas of shade. If your pond is exposed you could create shade by placing pots containing plants around the southern perimeter of the pond. Also, ensure there are a range of submergent and emergent plants in your pond which will also provide cover. See Just Add Water for more information.
- Provide areas of loose, damp soil, preferably within shrubs or undergrowth. Often amphibians will burrow underground to avoid the heat. Regularly watering areas of soil can help keep these cool and damp.
- Keep an area of your garden overgrown with weeds, shrubs and long grass as this will provide valuable shaded areas for amphibians.
- Create an area of rocks and stones as amphibians often seek refuge within cool and dark crevices.
- If you carry out some gardening activities, create a compost heap which will provide a refuge for amphibians, and also reptiles. See our wildlife gardening tips for more information
Reptiles are generally much better adapted to the hot and dry weather compared to amphibians as they have less permeable skin. Reptiles such as common lizards, grass snakes and adders will thrive in hot conditions and be highly active as they hunt their prey.
If you have any questions about amphibians or reptiles, take a look at our FAQ’s page here.