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Ruperra Conservation Trust,
Amphibians & Reptiles
The woods are not just home to the furry and feathered animals but also to scaly
The amphibians and reptiles of Ruperra include:
Although a number of new ponds have been created by volunteers over the last few
years, providing welcome extra habitat, amphibians have always been present in the
woods where many of them spend the terrestrial phase of their lives before they emerge
to venture to their breeding waters.
Every spring, Common Toads emerge from their winter hibernacula in the woods and
many cross the Draethen to Michaelston Road on their way to Ironbridge Cottage pond
where they spawn. Breeding is such an important activity that they will risk being
pancaked in order to do so. Toads cross the road night and day - and will often stop
to soak up the heat of its sun-warmed surface. However, the main movement is always
after dusk, and numbers can be so great that drivers simply cannot avoid squashing
them –sometimes dozens at a time can be killed by just one car.
In the interests of keeping this population safe, the friends and volunteers of Ruperra
go out on Toad Patrol each year on damp March evenings to assist these slippery pedestrians
across the roads. Over the last 3 years they have successfully helped move over 4000
toads, plus several newts and the odd frog.
Ponds are also important to Grass Snakes, which can sometimes be seen swimming across
them in search of a froggy meal! You may sometimes come across one basking on a warm
secluded pathon the site, or hear thegentle rustle as it slithers away into the
undergrowth. Also occasionally spotted warming up on a log is the Common Lizard
while Slow Worms are often found underneath a discarded piece of wood or rotting