Newquay Zoo welcomes Britain's rarest toad
Published: 14th Jun 2012Nine natterjack toads have moved into the native species exhibit at Newquay Zoo, much to the excitement of Director Stewart Muir. He said; ‘‘I am thrilled to announce the…
Nine natterjack toads have moved into the native species exhibit at Newquay Zoo, much to the excitement of Director Stewart Muir.
He said; ‘‘I am thrilled to announce the arrival of nine natterjack toads to the native species exhibit at Newquay Zoo. As a leading conservation and education charity we are committed to preserving habitats and species both in the UK and abroad. Natterjack toads are the rarest species of toad in the UK, and are threatened by the chytridiomycosis virus – a fungus which effects the skin – as well as from habitat destruction.’’
‘‘Zoos have a responsibility to raise awareness on conservation issues. Nearly a third of amphibians across the globe are at risk, and it is our job to educate our visitors on the threats to them. By having natterjack toads on site we can hopefully highlight the threats to these beautiful toads – the noisiest toads in Britain!’’
Natterjack toads like sandy habitats – including coastal dunes, heath and marshes – with shallow pools of warm water which they need for breeding. It is an offence under the Wildlife and Conservation Act 1981 to take an adult natterjack toad or a tadpole from the wild, as they are so rare.
Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Conservation Manager Cheryl Marriott said; ‘‘Natterjack toads are only now found in the wild in a handful of sites across the country, this is a great opportunity to get a close look at a very rare and fascinating animal.’’
Natterjack toads hibernate in the winter, normally waking from hibernation in April. They have relatively short legs, so instead of hopping around they run. This is different to their relative the common toad.