Scouring Cambridge for Amphibians

If there is one thing I can say that I enjoy more than most it is wandering around the edge of a pond in the pouring rain with a torch in my hand counting amphibians. On most evenings in the spring I can be found monitoring the amphibian populations of a number of local ponds around Cambridge. The interesting thing is that Cambridge is an old city but yet amphibians can still be found in abundance despite the constant building works that seem to diminish the homes of our native wildlife.

The four species that I record at the various sites are the common toad (Bufo bufo), common frog (Rana temporaria), smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) and great crested newt (Triturus cristatus). At some of the sites myself with a team of volunteers only find the common species but at one site we find all four of the above species. This site is very special to me and my herpetological brother in arms, Mark Goodman as we discovered the population of great crested newts here.

Great crested newt
Male great crested newt from Cambridge City Crematoirum (Photo by Steven Allain)

The site I’m talking about is Cambridge City Crematorium situated just outside of Cambridge near Bar Hill. Here myself and Mark discovered a healthy population of great crested newts in addition to the toads, frogs and smooth newts that were already known to be found in the ponds of the crematorium. We have been monitoring the site for 3 years now and we hope our data will soon be useful for changing the management protocols of the ponds to help favour the newts.

About Steven Allain 11 Articles
Steve is a zoology graduate from Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge. He is the current chairman of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Amphibian & Reptile Group (CPARG) and helps to organise and coordinate a number of amphibian and reptile surveys around the county to map the distribution of amphibians within Cambridgeshire. Steve has a blog and is an intern for IUCN SSC Amphibian Red List Authority since last summer. He has recently joined the SAVE THE FROGS! Task Force and is currently carrying out an amphibian based research project in Malaysia. Check out Steve on Twitter (@stevoallain) and find more of his work on ResearchGate.

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