Posted by: sweetpea | May 29, 2008

Midwife toad

Common Midwife toad - male

I went on a tour of Goddards NT garden in York yesterday afternoon with the gardeners at Middlethorpe hall and the gardeners and volunteers of Nunnington Hall gardens.  The garden is actually only down the road from me but I’ve never been to visit as it only seems to open during the week.  It’s a very different garden to Middlethorpe, a lot more closed in, and definitely a woodland garden, although there are formal gardens nearer the house with big yew hedges.  Unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity to take any photo’s, but of course that gives me an excuse to re-visit soon.

One exciting thing we were shown was a colony of Common Midwife toads.  I have never seen these before, and in fact I don’t think I even knew they existed in the UK.  In case you don’t know where they get their names from, the males actually carry the eggs on their hind legs (see photo) to protect them from predators.  When the tadpoles are ready to hatch, the males head into shallow water to allow the tadpoles to move into the water.  They also have quite a distinctive call which sounds just like a mobile phone or alarm.

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