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Fife Amphibian and Reptile Group


Amphibians old

Common Frog (Rana temporaria)

common frogs mating

The Common Frog is the most widely recognisable and prevalent amphibian within the United Kingdom. Favoured habitats include woodland, wet grassland, hedgerows, marshes, parks and gardens. Ponds are utilised for spawning and hibernation. Mating occurs within a short period after hibernation. Identification - Adults of both sexes have smooth skin with a dark patch behind the eyes. Dorsal spots of irregular pattern are visible on the head and back. The rounded snout, widely spaced eyes and lack of a dorsal stripe distinguishes the common frog from water frog species. The most common colourations are grey, olive and brown although extreme variations can occur such as red, orange and yellow. Common frogs are usually active from late January until early October. Out with these months the common frog is in hibernation. The Breeding period is between late February and early April. Although widespread throughout Fife, the Common Frog suffers from loss of habitat due to agricultural intensification and the drainage of farm ponds.

Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

common toad

Due to a declining population the common toad is a UK BAP priority species. In Fife this toad is relatively widespread where suitable habitats exist, such as woodland, hedgerows and grassland. The best time to find the common toad is during the mating season between April and May, as groups of over a hundred can gather near ponds.

Natterjack Toad (Epidalea calamita)

natterjack toad

The Natterjack Toad is a UK native species which faces extinction due to the loss of heathland and dune habitats and the acidification of ponds used for breeding. There are reintroduction programmes taking place throughout the UK and a concerted effort is being made to maintain pH neutral breeding ponds so that such programmes are effective. Reintroductions are promoted through the UK being a signatory of the Bern Convention (App 2). No sightings of this species have been recorded in Fife, with the nearest known colony found in Dumfries & Galloway

Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus)

great crested newt

The Great Crested Newt is an extremely rare species, as such, it is protected at international level through the Bern Convention (App 2), and nationally with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981(Sched 5) and Habitats Directive (Ann 2). Favoured habitats include weedy ponds and stagnant pools close to woodland, hedgerows and wet grassland. The best time to find them is between the months of March and June, torchlight can be used to witness them displaying and feeding in shallow water. Care must be taken to avoid causing damage and disturbance to the newt and its habitat.

Palmate Newt (Lissotriton helveticus)

palmate newt

The Palmate newt is the most common newt found within Fife, although populations are in decline as suitable habitats such as woodland pools, ponds and heathland become more localised. The Palmate Newt is active from late January until early November although the best time to find them is during the mating season between March and June, this is when courtship displays can be witnessed in shallow pools.

Smooth Newt (Lissotriton vulgaris)

male and female smooth newt

The smooth newt the most widespread newt within the UK although, as with most amphibians within Fife, habitat fragmentation and loss has resulted in populations becoming more localised. The best time to look for these newts is during the mating season, between the months of March and June. This is when mating displays can be seen through torchlight in shallow pools.

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