The life of amphibians is closely tied to water.


The life of amphibians is closely tied to water.

The tail end of the thread pig, on the other hand, looks blunt. Above that is a relatively high caudal fin fringe that emerges seamlessly from the low, jagged back. During the water load the rear feet of the male are noticeably dark in color. Throat and belly are not spotted, which clearly distinguishes the newt from the pond newt.

Habitat and Distribution

The filamentous newt is widespread in large parts of Western Europe, mainly in deciduous forests in the low mountain range. In Germany it lives mainly in the south and south-west, in all kinds of stagnant or weakly flowing water. The animal can stay for a while even in water-filled lanes. But it feels particularly good in cool and shady ponds, backwaters and spring waters. The female attaches up to 450 eggs per season to the aquatic plants there. The spawning season lasts from March to June. 

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Danger from humans

Like other amphibians, the newt is on the list under the Federal Species Protection Act "particularly at risk" Animal species. Because the human habitat is expanding, that of the thread newt is strongly threatened. Be it through backfilling and littering of small bodies of water, road traffic or the excessive density of fish in ponds – the population of the newt is declining sharply. The amphibian and reptile protection in Thuringia therefore recommends creating small, shady to partially shaded bodies of water without fish on your own property.

In addition to natural predators, newts primarily suffer from humans. The endangerment of various species arises from the increasing restriction of their habitats, for example through buildings.

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Greatest threat to newts: humans

If humans enlarge their living space by building houses and roads on previously unused areas, they destroy that of the newts. The life of amphibians is closely tied to water. This is where they look for their food, this is where they reproduce and this is where the offspring develop from an egg, through the larval stage to the young.

As the Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU) reports, the amphibian populations have declined sharply. In some regions, the number of small bodies of water has decreased by more than 80 percent in the last 50 years. In addition to the backfilling or littering of natural waters, the reason for this is the regulation of river and lake levels in open agriculture. There are hardly any floodplains and open ditches along country lanes or in meadows where the animals could spawn. If so, then country roads often cross the area. Studies have shown that with a traffic density of just 60 vehicles per hour, around 90 percent of amphibians are run over on their spring migration, according to NABU.

Measures to protect amphibians

In hot asian wives order to take action against the endangerment of newts and other amphibians, the federal government put all amphibian species under special protection as early as 1980. According to the Federal Nature Conservation Act, it has since been forbidden to disturb, injure or kill animals – but also to remove spawn and larvae from nature in order to settle them in your own garden pond. 

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Property owners can still help protect the newts. If you create biotopes and spawning waters in a targeted manner, the animals will settle there within a very short time. It is important that the ponds are near-natural without fish – voracious fish are a threat to the larvae. The newts are also helped with overgrown areas of the garden in which you do not use fertilizers and pesticides. 

Short hind legs and fat warts on the skin: Toads don’t necessarily have a reputation for being particularly pretty amphibians. Their survival strategies are still astonishing and there are a few specimens with the right characteristics for their respective environment on every continent on earth. Good to know: There are even family members in Greenland.

Frog species in Europe: this is what they look like
Photo series with 6 pictures

Trivia: what are toads?

Toads, like frogs and toads, belong to the so-called frogs. In addition to their relatives, their bodies appear a little overweight and their hind legs are less muscular – but that does not always apply. Something worth knowing about toads is how they move: the wart animals don’t hop, they run.

Even amphibian experts find it difficult to reconcile the more than 500 species worldwide, there are numerous subspecies with the most varied of characteristics.

Special characteristics of the toad skin

While many frogs have smooth skin, toads grapple with the bad reputation of wart skin. Toad skin can still do astonishing things: it serves as a camouflage or deterrent for wart animals and can be poisonous for predators. Cane toads, for example, secrete a poisonous substance via glands on the skin that can be fatal even for dogs and cats. Some toads can even take in oxygen underwater thanks to the special characteristics of their skin.

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Good to know: When it gets cold

Toads are cold-blooded animals: their body temperature can fluctuate without endangering the wart animals. Some toads can freeze alive and simply wake up again in warm temperatures – some members of the toad family even feel at home on the edge of the Arctic in Greenland. Your cells produce something kind of natural "Antifreeze" and survive even if the body fluids form ice crystals inside.

The drop toad is a species native to South America that only occurs in terrariums in Germany. The toad secretes a poisonous substance against its enemies.

Frog species in Europe: this is what they look like
Photo series with 6 pictures

Tropical toad from South America

The drop toad (Bufo guttatus) is at home in the rainforests along the Amazon – more precisely in Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru. While the males reach a body length of 15 centimeters, the females can be up to 25 centimeters long. The top of the drop toad is speckled light brown with darker warts. The head and the flanks are black in the male and brown in the female. The throat and stomach are reddish brown and covered with light brown speckles, the drops that give it its name.

Poisonous substance against enemies

The drop toad is nocturnal, lives near rivers and stagnant water, and feeds mainly on insects. The females lay up to 10,000 eggs when spawning. Drip toads have two glands behind their eyes from which they can secrete a poisonous, white substance. The poisonous bufotoxin consists of fatty acid and drives off the natural enemies of the toad. Drop toads can live up to 10 years. The species is not considered to be endangered in its range, but the populations are declining sharply due to the development of natural habitats and the intensification of agriculture.

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Keeping in terrarium

In Germany, toads can only be found in the terrariums of breeders or amphibian lovers. The amphibious experts at "Lucky Reptile" recommend a spacious terrarium with shelter and climbing branches, strong plants and a large, flat water bowl for keeping drop toads. Drop toads are well tolerated by one another. This species likes crickets, house crickets, cockroaches or special insect food as food in the terrarium. A few vitamins do not harm the tropical toad either.

The panther toad is a species that is widespread in Africa and is most comfortable in deserts and savannas. It is not known where their name comes from.

Frog species in Europe: this is what they look like
Photo series with 6 pictures

Desert animal panther toad

Even if toads only rely on water to spawn, it is unusual for Central European ears that a toad has found its preferred habitat in the hot and dry desert. The panther toad (Bufo regularis) sees it differently. She feels at home in savannas, semi-deserts and deserts south of the Sahara. According to "terraristikland.de" it is the typical toad of Africa.

Panther toads grow up to 13 centimeters long, with the males being significantly smaller than the females. The basic color of the toads is light to dark brown. The males are usually darker, but turn yellow during the mating season.

Horizontal pupils, warty glands

There are brown spots and many warts on the back. In case of danger, the wart-shaped glands secrete a white, poisonous mucus on the back, which is supposed to drive away enemies. The pupils are slit horizontally. Neither outwardly nor in any other way does the panther toad resemble a panther – where the name comes from is uncertain.

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Nocturnal toad

Panther toads feed on insects, larvae or spiders, but also on small mice. The species is crepuscular and nocturnal, the panther toad prefers to spend the hot day buried in the sand. Like all toads, the panther toads usually only visit waters to spawn. The females then lay strings with 12,000 eggs, which are fertilized by the males. After a few days, the tadpoles hatch. Panther toads can live up to seven years.

The alpine salamander can be found not only in the alpine countries, but also in the mountains of the Balkans. At altitudes between 800 and 2,000 meters, it feeds on beetles, worms, slugs and other small animals.

Endangered animal species in Germany
Photo series with 6 pictures

Mountain habitat: retreat in the sun and drought

Its shiny black skin is reminiscent of a damp garden hose. However, the flanks are not completely smooth, but have warty elevations that contain glandular exits. The belly is usually lead gray. In contrast to the fire salamander, the alpine salamander is delicate. It only reaches a maximum length of 16 centimeters, with the females generally being smaller than the males.

  • April 12, 2020
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