Amphibians.

(Frogs, newts & other slimy things).

Image of Frog

Frogs and Toads

It is surprising how many gardening people dislike these lowly creatures even though they have voracious appetites for a large number of garden pests. Few gardens will be without a few of these even if the nearest pond seems to be miles away.

The life cycle of frogs and toads starts out as spawn in a nearby pond, from which emerge the well known tadpole. These rapidly develop into miniature versions of the adult and leave the water for pastures new. On damp days in late spring, there may be absolutely hundreds of little froglets hopping about, but they suffer heavy predation and their numbers get reduced quickly.

Newts

Image of newt

Newts may be as common as the frogs but they are rarely seen due to their secretive nature, small size and good camouflage. Most of their life is spent away from the water and I have unearthed them during the winter more than 20cm below ground.

The spawn is laid amongst pond weed singly much later than the frogs and toads. The young newt is called an eft.

Slow worms.

Image of slow worm

I know it is technically a reptile but it can swim and crawl on land and that makes it an amphibious garden companion. This rarely seen slug killer is not uncommon in gardens particularly on the outskirts of town, or near canals, parks and railways. While it looks like a snake it is actually a lizard that has lost its legs. Sometimes they even lose their tails. Talk about being careless!

Slow worms like to hide away in a warm secluded spot but do sometimes sunbathe on top of rocks and suchlike. Adults eat slugs and other garden pests, youngsters specialize in ant eggs.

To be continued:



 




 
 

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