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Natterjack Toads mating

It's been said they're the UK's noisiest amphibian, and when you hear them it's difficult to disagree.  If they lived in a city centre they'd probably get an ASBO.  Natterjacks are equipped with an inflatable vocal sack under their chin which acts as a resonator allowing their churring mating song to be heard from over a kilometre away.



April is the best time to see and hear Natterjack Toads as they emerge from their winter burrows and make their way down to their breeding pools.  On warm evenings you can hear the males calling from the ponds to attract the females.



After mating the Natterjacks release their spawn in a single string up to two metres long.  The tadpoles usually hatch in about a week.  This rapid development is necessary because they are often in shallow pools which can quickly dry out.  Within four weeks they can be ready to leave the water as tiny toadlets, although they need a further 3-4 years to reach sexual maturity.

Top Places to Look for Natterjacks in the UK

Natterjack Toads are found mainly in sandy, coastal areas of east and north-west England and because of their rarity, it's illegal to disturb them, or the places they inhabit.  Here are a few locations where you might be lucky enough to see some, but be sure to check with the site owners/managers before visiting:

  • North Walney NNR, near Barrow in Furness
  • Sandscale Haws NNR, near Barrow-in Furness
  • Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe Dunes NNR, Lincolnshire
  • Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR, Formby, Merseyside, Sefton Coast
  • Cabin Hill NNR, Formby, Merseyside, Sefton Coast
  • Holkham NNR, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk

More info at: UK Safari Natterjack Toads Fact File



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