Rare natterjack toads re-introduced at Grimston Warren, near King’s Lynn

More than 800 tadpoles from the rare natterjack toad have been brought to a Norfolk nature reserve.

The creatures have come from the thriving population at the RSPB's nature reserve at Sandy, beds, and transferred to Grimston Warren, near Kings Lynn.

It's hoped they will help to start the process of establishing a breeding colony.

The delicate transfer was overseen by John Buckley, from the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, said:

'The natterjacks were carefully transported from The Lodge to the Grimston Warren, and the pool where they will make their new home looked superb.

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'We hope the tadpoles will be turning into toads within the next few weeks'.

Natterjacks are smaller than their cousins the common toad and much rarer.

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They are also nocturnal and are usually heard more than they are seen as their mating calls can be heard from over a kilometere away.

The toads can be identified by the distinctive yellow stripe which runs along their back. During the daytime, they rest up in their burrows or under objects, emerging at darkness to scurry about hunting beetles.

Natterjacks need bare ground or very short vegetation for hunting and shallow, shallow pools for breeding.

Less than 60 sites across the UK now provide the right habitat.

Syderstone Common, a Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve in West Norfolk, originally provided the spawn and tadpoles for the Sandy colony.

The species' numbers have struggled with loss of suitable habitat and the twentieth century saw a 70pc loss of colonies, particularly from heathlands.

Habitat has been because of changes in farming practices, building, conversion of land use to arable, afforestation, habitat loss and land being left un-grazed, which leaves vegetation too high for natterjacks to hunt over.

Andy Schofield, warden at The Lodge nature reserve, said: 'Because of careful habitat management, we have a successful colony of natterjacks here on the Greensand Ridge at The Lodge. We are happy to see the tadpoles translocated back from an RSPB reserve to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and wish the project every success.

'It's nice to know that tadpoles from The Lodge may be breeding at Grimston Warren in the future, returning the species to another heathland site for future generations to enjoy.'

Bill Boyd, Norfolk Wildlife Trust's West Norfolk field officer said: 'Natterjack toads were last recorded on Grimston Warren's neighbouring site, Roydon Common, in the 1970s, but they were probably also present at Grimston before it was converted to conifer plantations. So there's every likelihood that this is a homecoming and re-introduction for the toads, now the site is being restored to their favoured heathland.'

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