Lowland amphibian hotspot

I finally got round to visiting my favourite place to look for amphibians in Slovakia, a lowland pond which is home to 15 species. By European standards that is a lot of amphibians in one relatively small wetland. I managed to see 9/15 during a nocturnal walk around the edges of the pond. Nights have been quite cold recently but it was now a little warmer and amphibians activity was quite high. The first species to show themselves were several Danube crested newts (Triturus dobrogicus), a new species for me! Most were migrating on land towards their breeding ponds but some were also in the water. Fire-bellied toads (Bombina bombina) are quite a restricted species in southern Slovakia but they were commonly seen on land and in some rain puddles. Another restricted species in the country is the Common spadefoot toad (Pelobates fuscus) which is very common at this location and many were seen as usual. Other observed amphibians included 1 Smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris), a dozen or so Common toads (Bufo bufo), 3 Green toads (Bufotes viridis), 5 Agile frogs (Rana dalmatina), a few Marsh frogs (Pelophylax ridibundus) and a large number of Common tree frogs (Hyla arborea). Once things warms up this wetland is also a very good snake place with high numbers of the four species which occur there.

Last summer I found literally thousands of trapped spadefoot toads and other amphibians inside drains on the outskirts of this pond and thanks to my friend Andrej we were able to free many of them. Although in smaller numbers this time, many adult spadefoot toads were again trapped in these drains. Since I had a surgery only a few days prior to this visit I didn’t have the strength to rescue them myself this time but good to know that other people will go there and rescue the animals soon. Hopefully we can come to some solution with the land owners to improve this situation as although very common at this locality, the spadefoot toad is uncommon on a national level in Slovakia. In fact, I only know of three locations in the south of the country where it is known to occur.

My doctor gave me the all clear to fly so tomorrow I will return to the UK for a couple of weeks before heading to the Greek islands. I’ll be back in Slovakia at the end of May until the summer when I will move on back to Phuket.

Observed species

  • Danube crested new (Triturus dobrogicus)
  • Smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgarus)
  • Fire-bellied toad (Bombina bombina)
  • Common spadefoot toad (Pelobates fuscus)
  • Green toad (Bufotes viridis)
  • Common toad (Bufo bufo)
  • Agile frog (Rana dalmatina)
  • Marsh frog (Pelophylax ridibundus)
  • Common tree frog (Hyla arborea)

Missed species: Great crested newt (Triturus vulgarus), Yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata), Edible frog (Pelophylax esculentus), Pool frog (Pelophylax lessonae), Moor frog (Rana arvalis), Common frog (Rana temporaria)

4 responses to “Lowland amphibian hotspot”

    • Merci! Probably one of my favourite places for frogging. Even more species in one wetland compared to places I visited in southern Europe.

    • A lot less species in the UK for sure, but I’ve enjoyed a few days out looking for adders this week. I never get bored of seeing them.

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