Our Neighborhood's Biodiversity Map

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Europe
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Shared by : Arushi Madan (UK)
Region : Europe
Status : Endangered
Introduction
The former scientific name of this species "Bufo calamita" means "running toad". They derived this name from the fact that they move by running rather than hopping. Natterjack Toad is a species of toad native to various regions of Europe and is the only Toad species native to Ireland. They are protected under various laws in all the countries where they are found. It is illegal to capture these toads or their tadpoles in all the countries they are found in. Due to this reason, they are not generally kept as pets. They are nocturnal in nature, being active hunters during night. They are quite aggressive in nature and chase their prey in order to catch them. The call of the male Natterjack Toad can be heard from distances of several kilometers. These creatures are often considered to be the noisiest amphibians of Europe. The adaptive features of this species help them to survive in their natural habitat. The yellow lines on their backs work as a camouflage as it lets the toads hide among sand sedge plants growing in their habitats. Natterjack Toads secrete a poisonous substance from their skin which helps them to avoid being preyed on. The average lifespan of these toads is around 15 years.

• Appearance: This species can be easily identified by their distinctive appearance and coloration. This endangered species has brown or green skin covered in warts, which are typically bright red or yellow, and has the distinguishing feature of a thin, bold, yellow stripe down its back. The length of their bodies range from 6 cm to 8 cm. They have green or golden eyes have horizontal black pupils, flattened bodies with short limbs and partly webbed feet.

• Distribution: Their distribution range extends from south-western and western regions of Europe to Ukraine and Belarus in the east. This Toad species is also found in the coastal areas of the British Isles. In the United Kingdom, they are naturally found in 39 locations and are introduced in 13 additional locations. Habitats: These amphibians live in open fields and grasslands with sandy soils where they can dig their burrows. They are commonly found in salt marshes, sand dune systems and lowland heaths. This species is also found in shallow temporary ponds as they require water to reproduce. Despite being amphibians, Natterjack Toads do not live in deep waters as they cannot swim very well.
Reasons behind their declining population:
Reasons for its declining population include:
• loss of habitat from human overpopulation
• deterioration and loss of lowland heaths
• reduction in habitable coast from construction of dykes and seawalls
• acidification of aquatic habitat from acid rain and other pollution which makes their breeding pools and ponds less suitable for reproduction.
Conservation and protection efforts:
Natterjack toads are endangered in the UK and therefore have strict protection under British and European law. They have full protection under schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Natterjack Toad is one of the most endangered species in the United Kingdom, however, at the same time, they are also one of the least known endangered species. They are protected by various laws in different European countries. In the United Kingdom, they are protected by the national Biodiversity Action Plan. They are so rare, that they are protected by the government. Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, and classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. To reverse habitat loss the National Parks and Wildlife Service has created ponds for the species with some funding from the Heritage Council. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure these habitats are protected by fostering Living Landscape schemes: networks of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people.

Sources :
https://eden.uktv.co.uk/article/britains-most-endangered-species-revealed/
http://www.allaboutwildlife.com/endangered-species/the-most-endangered-animals-in-britain/5976
https://animalcorner.co.uk/endangered-british-marine/
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/endangeredspecies
http://actionforearth.weebly.com/blog/10-most-endangered-animals-in-the-uk-part-1
http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/species/natterjack-toad
http://www.animalspot.net/natterjack-toad.html
http://www.surrey-arg.org.uk/SARG/08000-TheAnimals/SARGSpeciesData.asp?Species=Natterjack_Toad
http://www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/education/natterjacktoad.pdf
http://www.arkive.org/natterjack-toad/bufo-calamita/#text=All
http://www.herpconstrust.org.uk/animals/natterjack_toad.htm
http://www.lakelandwildlife.co.uk/biodiversity/key_sp_natterjacktoad.html
https://www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife-in-norfolk/species-explorer/amphibians-and-reptiles/natterjack-toad

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