Posted 21st Jun 2018 by Peter Byrne
Survey results have revealed the sightings of our garden amphibians are starting to decline
The RSPB are now calling on people to help our amphibians by heading outdoors this summer and creating more ponds and pools in their gardens.
Results from the RSPB's wildlife survey, part of the Big Garden Birdwatch, has found frogs were seen in close to 40 per cent of gardens. This figure has declined since the last time gardens were surveyed in 2014, when they had been observed in at least 46 per cent of our outdoor spaces.
A similar trend was reported for toads too, who were seen in only 20 per cent of our gardens.
At a quick glance a nature novice may not be sure of the differences between a frog and a toad. Frogs hop, have smooth, moist skin, and have a pointed nose, whilst a toad crawls, has warty skin and is dry, with a rounded, almost semi-circular, nose.
Dr Daniel Hayhow, RSPB Conservation Scientist, said: "Most people remember seeing tadpoles at the local pond or a toad emerging from under a rock while they were growing up – these first experiences with nature stay with us forever. Unfortunately, the sights and sounds of wildlife that were once common to us are sadly becoming more mysterious."
"There are lots of simple things we can all do in our outdoor spaces to make them perfect for wildlife. Frogs and toads are amphibious creatures meaning that they need a source of water close to their homes to survive. Creating a small pond in your garden, or a pool using a washing up bowl is so simple to do and could make all the difference".
Other results from the survey found a small increase in the number of recorded hedgehog sightings - despite the UK populations suffering a widespread decline in recent decades, 65 per cent spotted one in their garden over the past year.
Foxes were still the most common garden visitor with one spotted in 72 per cent of our gardens and outdoor spaces, with more secretive creatures such as moles, red squirrels and great-crested newts going undetected in many cases.
Dr Karen Haysom, Species Programmes Manager at Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, said: "Frogs and toads face many pressures including the loss of habitat like ponds. Helping these fascinating creatures by making wildlife habitat in your garden or taking part in species recording and monitoring schemes so we understand how nature is faring is fun and can make a difference."
The survey included results from over 174,000 UK gardens.
Image courtesy of Richard Bowler (rspb-images.com)