Reptiles and Amphibians

Amphibians

Frogs, newts and toads can most commonly be found in many of the ponds and ditches that are associated with waterways along the catchment, but also in the more slow-flowing streams including the upper River Thame. They will only thrive where the water is relatively unpolluted and where spawn can develop undisturbed, so are not universal, and we suspect that populations in some areas could be healthier.

The three animals have different habitat requirements: toads are mostly terrestrial and mostly use water for reproduction and in their early life stages. Frogs are found both in and near water and can spend long periods on land. Newts spend a lot of time in water during the spring and summer months but over winter on land under woodpiles, tussocky grass and in compost heaps in a hibernation like state called topor.

 

Reptiles

The native reptiles found in the catchment are grass snakes, adders and slow worms. Grass snakes are quite common, especially in areas of unimproved open land, and are good swimmers and frequently predate on newts and frogs. Adders also occur on open land but are much rarer.

Slow worms, although they look like snakes they are actually lizards. They are very shy and retiring and tend to be found under stones and in holes but can sometimes be seen sunbathing on the edge of paths in the summer.