Amphibians are vertebrates (animals with backbones) which are able, when adult, to live both in water and on land.

Protection of Amphibians

Over the past hundred years, hundreds of farm and village ponds have been filled in or become polluted; wild wetlands have been drained to make more land for crops, rivers have been dredged. All this activity has resulted in fewer and fewer suitable habitats for amphibians to live - and therefore the amphibians themselves have become increasingly rare. The pollution of water and the wide use of pesticides - which destroy the amphibians'food - has added to the problem.

The common frog, common toad and common newt are no longer common - and populations of the natterjack toad and great crested newt have become so low that these two species have been officially declared endangered species and are protected by law.

About 80% of all ponds in Britain are now found in gardens, and it is the garden pond which has been a life-saver for Britain's frogs, toads and newts. Garden ponds are normally in sheltered places, and there are fewer predators, so amphibians have a good chance of surviving. The more ponds we have in gardens and in school grounds, the better it will be for the future of our amphibians. In fact, a well-designed garden pond, even a small one, is an excellent nature reserve, attracting many other forms of pond-life, as well as providing water for birds, foxes, and hedgehogs.

To help by creating your own pond see our factsheet in the Additional Resources section below.

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