Springtime is always busy for us at the Swanwick Lakes Nature Reserve. There’s our ongoing reserve maintenance to keep us occupied year-round, as well as our education activity programme that’s running. But there’s another milestone that’s marked at this time of year, the start of breeding season for our frogs and toads.

Breeding season is a time where our amphibious friends try to get back to the bodies of water where they spawned so they can mate and lay eggs there. However, things like fences can make it hard for them, as the frogs and toads grow into adults and can’t slip back through the holes they were able to when they were younger and smaller.

Armed with buckets and some extra hands from NATS and Mitie, my colleagues and I were recently able to rescue 170 toads and 7 frogs as they undertook their perilous journey. We carefully collected them from along a fence line and released them on the other side so they could continue on to the lakes at the nature reserve.

It’s really important that we can measure the numbers and activity of our frogs and toads because they’re what’s known as an ‘indicator species’. This means we can pick up any early warning signs about environmental changes or damage to habitats early on, thanks to the number of amphibians around.

It’s important to add that toads, frogs, spawn or tadpoles should never be moved from one area of water to another, as this can spread diseases and affect any native populations. Thankfully, the conditions here are just what our amphibians, and the variety of other wildlife, need to survive.

The nature reserve is a great place to come and explore, you may even spot a toad among the wildlife, so we’d encourage everyone to visit if you live nearby. We run various events through the year too, such as pond dipping and woodland talks, which you can find out more about on the website. Every season brings its own rewards, so you won’t be disappointed whenever you decide to pop along.

[Image credit: Gemma Paul]


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