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Species native to the United Kingdom
Introduced or alien species
Alien species that present a threat to wildlife

Natterjack Toad - Bufo calamita/Epidalea calamita - Native



Tailless amphibian. Warty Skin.

Distinct bulges on back of head, known as the parotoid glands

Tends to run not hop

Covered in obvious warts, many of which are bright yellow or red

Horizontal slit pupil

Dorsal Surface, characterised in Britain by a yellow stripe along the back. General colour green, brownish green or cream coloured.

Length: males up to 7 cm females up to 8 cm

Natterjack Toad - Identification

Breeding and Spawn

This toad breeds from March to May. They lay a string of eggs similar to the Common Toads, but distinguishable as the string contains a single row of eggs unlike the double row typical of Bufo bufo. The tadpoles metamorphose in June and July.

The Natterjack benefits from small and shallow temporary pools where invertebrate predator numbers are kept low due to seasonal desiccation of the ponds. Occasionally larger permanent pools with shallow margins are used where fish such as perch or carp keep the number of invertebrate predators low, but find the Natterjack tadpoles distasteful.

Natterjack Toad - pair in amplexus
© David Bird British Herpetological Society

Natterjack Toads in mating embrace.

What else could it be?

The Natterjack toad (Bufo calamita), is extremely rare in the UK. It has a very distinctive yellow dorsal stripe that helps to distinguish it from the Common Toad, and comparatively shorter legs. The Natterjack tends to run as opposed to walking or hopping.

Adult Natterjack Toad, showing distinctive cream/yellow dorsal stripe and colourful patterning on warty skin.
Natterjack Toad
© Tony Phelps Reptile Research & Imagery
Reproduced with the kind permission of Surrey Wildlife Trust

Where will I see a Natterjack Toad?

The Natterjack is now confined to only a handful of carefully monitored sites in the UK. This toad is classified as an endangered species and reintroduction programmes are being implemented in the UK to help halt its decline.

In Britain the Natterjack lives almost exclusively in sandy places, such as coastal dunes and lowland heaths. In Cumbria and Scotland populations are also thriving on upper saltmarshes and upland moor.

The favoured habitat is always open and unshaded with areas of bare ground where foraging is easy.

Male Natterjack Toad Croaking.
Natterjack Toad - male calling
© David Bird British Herpetological Society

The Natterjack Toad is an endangered species and protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

It is an offence to disturb these toads in any way

Kill, harm or injure them

Cause damage to their habitat

Possess, sell or trade them in any way

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