Natterjack Toad

(Epidalia calamita)




Facts about this animal

60-70 mm in length. Their general dorsal colour is usually dark green, olive, brown or sometimes light green, usually with a yellow line down the middle of the back. The background pattern reminds you of an army camouflage with a general dark colour with blotches and irregular areas of the same colour of a lighter shade. They have relatively short legs, and this gives them a distinctive gait, contrasting with the hopping movement of many other toad species. Hibernation occurs from September - October to March - May in the same sites where it hides in summer. Otherwise, the toad buries itself in the soil. It feeds mainly on insects (in particular flies), weavils and other small animals. Reproduction occurs in different months, in dependence on the latitude. Breeding choruses reach maximum intensity in the evening. The mating call differs from that in the Green Toad (B. viridis). Amplexus is pectoral. The clutch contains 2800-4000 eggs deposited in two strings of 1-2 m length. Metamorphosis occurs usually in summer, but cases of larval overwintering are known. The mass appearance of newly metamorphosed toadlets is typical. This toad may attain 17 years. The diet consists mainly of crawling invertebrates (ants, beetles etc.); mirmecophagy is typical, like in other congeneric species, i.e. ants compose a significant component of the food.

Did you know?
that the scientific name Bufo calamita means “Running toad”? This is, because its legs are shorter and it tends to run almost like a mouse rather than walk or hop.The reproductive strategy of the Natterjack Toad is based on quick use of small often only temporary bodies of water, which warm up quickly and where there are no enemies, often in man made secondary habitats. Larval development is extremely short and the larvae can support temperatures over 30° C without problems. The whole development can be concluded in 3 – 6 weeks only. Sometimes this game of luck ends with a total loss, when the puddle dries out. But in other cases thousands of 7-8 mm long toads with a weight of 75 mgs leave the water. Half-growns can disperse over several km. Thus this toad is a typical pioneer species. Well established bodies of water with plant growth, are usually abandoned.


Name (Scientific) Epidalia calamita
Name (English) Natterjack Toad
Name (French) Crapaud calamite
Name (German) Kreuzkröte
Name (Spanish) Sapo corredor
Local names Czech: Ropucha krátkonohá
Dutch: Rugstreeppad
Italian: Rospo dei canneti
Hungarian: Nádi varangy
Polish: Ropucha paskówka
Portuguese: Sapo-corredor
Romansh: Rustg verschlá
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
© Piet Spaans



Range Portugal, Spain, France, Southwestern Ireland, Great Britain, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Austria near the Czech border, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Western Ukraine, Byelorussia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia (northwards to Tallin City), Western Russia (Kaliningrad Province), Denmark and Sweden.
Habitat In open, well-warmed landscapes with light, sandy soils under 1700m in altitude. There it lives in sand dunes, glades of pine forests, gardens, parks, fields, sand and gravel quarries and meadows. In the daytime it hides in heaps of stones, in sandy soil and under debris. Reproduction takes place in shallow, well-warmed ponds, puddles and ditches, including those with admixture of salt water on the shore of the Baltic Sea.
Wild population Populations are not usually very large. However, in some places the density reaches 200 individuals per hectare. The populations sometimes reach exceptionally high densities in agricultural landscapes. Many populations of this species are declining because of anthropogenic pressure, primarily alteration of its specialized habitats: afforestation of heathlands and their reclamation for agriculture, acidification of breeding ponds due to polluted rains, use of coastal dunes for holiday industry. There have been some translocation projects for Bufo calamita in the UK. The translocation projects show signs of sucess. This was a result of coupling the reintroduction effort with large scale habitat restoration and maintenance effort.
Zoo population 51 specimens reported to ISIS (2007).

In the Zoo

Natterjack Toad


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 45 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


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Photo Copyright by
© Marek Szczepanek