New homes for toads

As reported in the last e-newsletter, there is a new series of wetland scrapes currently being built at Parc Slip Nature Reserve. Our Welsh herptiles (reptiles and amphibians) are amongst the wide range of wildlife set to benefit from the new wetland.

Common Toad

Common toad

Amphibians, as the name suggests, are reliant on water, particularly for breeding purposes. The amphibians that can be found at Parc Slip are common toad (Bufo bufo), common frog (Rana temporaria), palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus) and the European protected great crested newt (Triturus cristatus). Although these species spend a large proportion of the year on land, come the spring the adults migrate back to water bodies to breed. The eggs (spawn) that are laid do not have shells and therefore require water to avoid dessication. After hatching, the larvae live, feed and develop in the water, before eventually emerging as adults to start the life cycle again.

One of our native reptiles, the grass snake (Natrix natrix) also relies on water, but for food; the grass snake is a predator of amphibians. The grass snake is an excellent swimmer and can catch amphibians and fish in the water, bringing them back to the bank for consumption.

The new scrapes at Parc Slip will therefore be hugely beneficial to herptiles, mainly by creating more habitat for breeding amphibians, leading to a population increase which will in turn benefit the grass snakes.

In addition, the spoil from the digging of the wetland has been used to create south-facing banks around the wetland. These will be of benefit to all our reptiles as a basking habitat and could also be potentially used as hibernacula for the winter for reptiles and amphibians.

Biffa AwardOver the summer months, we will be again running weekly Reptile Rambles at Parc Slip, giving you the chance to see these wonderful animals in their natural environments. If you like more information about the Reptile Rambles, please email Rose on r.revera@welshwildlife.org to be added to the events mailing list.