Amphibians are cold-blooded animals which can live in water and on land. If I asked you to name one then ‘frog’ might leap to mind. Frogs are indeed amphibians but so are toads, newts, salamanders and the legless gymnophiona. With only 5 different families, it should be easy to tell them all apart. But can you spot the difference between a toad and a frog or a newt and a salamander? If not then don’t worry – we at Education Quizzes have all the information you need to identify the 7 species of amphibian native to Britain.
The most commonly-found toad is appropriately named the common toad. They have a brown/green, warty skin and amber eyes with horizontal pupils. Common toads move around by walking and they often visit gardens.
Natterjack toads look very similar to common toads but you can tell them apart by the yellow stripe which runs down the spine of a natterjack. They can also move faster than common toads and may be seen to run.
The unimaginatively named common frog is the most abundant of Britain’s frogs. They have a smooth skin which is green/brown with dark spots and stripes. Unlike toads, frogs move by hopping rather than walking.
The pool frog looks similar to the common frog but it has a light yellow stripe on its back. The pool frog is very rare and can only be found in and around East Anglia.
Newts have different shaped bodies to frogs and toads and look a bit like lizards. The smooth newt is the most common. It’s about 10cm long and has green/brown skin and a yellow belly. Like all newts, the males grow crests on their backs during the breeding season.
At 15cm long, the great crested newt is the largest in Britain. They have a warty, dark brown/black skin and a bright orange belly. The male’s crest is jagged and black with a silver stripe.
Finally we come to the palmate newt. These are similar in appearance to the smooth newt but not quite as large, and the male’s crest grows on the tail rather than the back.
There are a few more species of amphibian which you may find in Britain, such as the bull frog, the midwife toad or the alpine newt, but these are newcomers and not native to our islands. They are, at the moment, quite rare but let’s see how they fare in the future.
If you are interested in Britain’s amphibians then take a look at the amphibian and reptile conservation’s Record Pool. You can find out where to see amphibians near you and might also be able to help conserve them by recording your sightings.