France and Belgium visit

Typical forested area for Fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) on mainland Europe. (C) Matt Wilson

Typical forested area for Fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) on mainland Europe. (C) Matt Wilson

I’ve spent the past week on a French exchange with pupils from my school. Being back in France brought back many memories of when I used to study at the University of Perpignan in the south of France. This time we visited many areas of northern France and southern Belgium. I had one afternoon off to go and do some exploring, including spending a few hours in a forested area close to the farm that belongs to a friend. Here I was able to see a few herps such as Common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis), Grass snake (Natrix natrix), Common frog (Rana temporaria), Common toad (Bufo bufo) and Pool frog (Pelophylax lessonae). However, I was mostly searching the woods in the hope of finding a Fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) but due to the fact that they are not common in this area and that it was quite dry I wasn’t able to find one this time. Around Amiens there is a large wetland area that passes through the city and is connected via canals and waterways. I was pleased to have a guided tour and learn of the abundance of grass snakes and amphibians in the urbanised area of northern France.

Fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) photographed during a previous visit to France (C) Matt Wilson

Fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) photographed during a previous visit (C) Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson

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