Maiden Erlegh Nature Reserve
The Common Frog has a robust body and relatively short hind limbs with webbed toes. Their smooth skin varies in colour from grey, olive green and yellow to various shades of brown. Males tend to be darker than females. Their undersides are white or yellow, and sometimes orange in females, often with brown or orange speckles. They have brown eyes and black pupils. They have transparent inner eyelids which protect their eyes while they are underwater.
Although hard to spot, the following Amphibians live around the reserve
They feed on insects, snails, slugs and worms which they catch with their long, sticky tongues.
Common frogs can breathe through their skin as well as their lungs. Their eyes and nostrils are on top of their heads so they can see and breathe even when most of their body is underwater, just like a crocodile but not nearly so dangerous.
The Common Toad has a broad, squat body and a rounded snout. They have short toes and webbed hind feet. The eyes are orange with black horizontal pupils. They are covered in raised warts, particularly on the back and sides. Their skin colour varies according to time of year, area, sex and age, but can be dark brown, grey, olive, terracotta or sandy coloured, with a grey-white underside. They are sometimes covered in darker markings on the back. Males develop pads on the toes of the front limbs during the breeding season. They have two prominent glands behind the eyes, which contain a foul-tasting and irritating secretion.
They grow up to 8-15cm long and can live for up to 40 years on a diet of insects, larvae, spiders, slugs and worms.
The Common Newt (also known as the smooth newt) is a colourful and attractive species and can grow up to 8cm long. The male develops bright orange and blue on his tail and a ribbed crest with frilled webbing round his toes in the breeding season. Males have strong black belly spots. Females are brown with pale spotting. Breeding can begin as early as mid-February and can continue into June. An elaborate courtship begins immediately and eggs are laid individually, carefully wrapped in the leaves of aquatic plants. Each female is capable of laying 400 eggs, at the rate of 7-12 per day. On land, newts like tall damp vegetation and can be found under rocks and stones, emerging at dusk to feed.