Natterjack Home Improvements

Date: 03.04.2014

Type: Biodiversity

We are privileged here at Denbighshire Countryside Service to manage Gronant Dunes Local Nature Reserve, which, amongst many other rare and protected species, supports one of the only natterjack toad populations in Wales. Recent partnership working with Natural Resources Wales has led to some home improvements for this charismatic amphibian, with the creation of four new breeding ponds.

New pond

The natterjack toad became extinct in Wales during the 20th Century but it was reintroduced to Gronant Dunes around 15 years ago. Since then the site has been managed for the benefit of this rare species and the toads are monitored throughout the breeding season by Countryside Service staff. It can be distinguished from the common toad by a yellow stripe running down its back. The males have a very distinctive mating call, which can be heard across the dunes in spring.

The four new ponds were created by Natural Resources Wales as part of a scheme to raise the flood bank alongside the Prestatyn Gutter. Some of the existing ponds have also been cleared of dense vegetation as the natterjacks prefer them to be bare or only sparsely vegetated.

GronantAccording to Biodiversity Officer, Lizzy Webster, “the work carried out by Natural Resources Wales and ongoing maintenance by Denbighshire Countryside Service wardens ensures that the ponds and surrounding habitat stay in optimal shape for the natterjacks. Breeding success for natterjacks is very dependent on factors outside our control like the weather, but we hope this work will give them a good start to 2014.”

Natterjack toads hibernate over winter and are becoming active again around now. You are welcome to visit the dunes to listen out for the males, but be aware that this species is highly protected by law and a licence is required to survey or photograph them.

For more information about natterjack toads and work being undertaken to conserve them, visit the biodiversity section of the website or contact Lizzy Webster ( / 01824 708263).


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