A is for
These are three Amphibians that live in my town - the frog and newt are commonly found in my garden but the toad has yet to show its face there.
Common Frog (Rana temporaria)
Possibly our most familiar amphibian, the Common Frog is distributed throughout Britain and Ireland and can be found in almost any habitat where suitable breeding ponds can be found. Garden ponds are now extremely important for Common Frogs and many populations in suburban areas depend on them. Adults can grow to almost 8cm and are generally some shade of brown or olive brown in colour with a dark patch behind the eye and bands of darker colour on the back legs.
The Common Toad (Bufo bufo)
The Common Toad is a widespread amphibian found throughout Britain although absent from Ireland. It can grow to 8cm, and is generally brown or olive brown and young specimens are often brick coloured. The skin is warty and often appears dry. Glands in the skin contain powerful toxins and would-be predators quickly learn not to attempt to eat toads.
The Smooth Newt - Lissotriton vulgaris (formerly Triturus vulgaris)
Our most widespread newt, the Smooth Newt, is found throughout Britain and is the only newt species to be found in Ireland. It can grow to 10cm and is most often found in ponds during the breeding season between February and June. The Smooth Newt is brown, the female being relatively plain whilst the male is spotty and develops a continuous wavy crest along its back in the breeding season. The belly of both sexes is yellow to orange with black spots and the spots on the throat provide a good way of telling this species apart from Palmate Newts (which have no spots on their throat).
To see what other folk have found to illustrate the letter A in their towns please click on this link.
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