Amphibians are animals that usually begin life as legless tadpoles, in water, breathing through gills. This is followed by shape changes and the development of legs, allowing the creature to move from water to land. The link with water is never lost though, as the amphibian must keep its skin moist, so amphibians tend to enjoy the best of both worlds except for when their watery world dries up. Most amphibians have to return to water to breed.
Tadpoles usually live off small water plants. The adult amphibian is usually an insect eater along with slugs and snails.
Amphibians tend to be most common in warmer environments. Being cold-blooded, they rely on the surrounding temperature to keep warm or cool.
Types of amphibians[edit | edit source]
The majority of amphibians are frogs and toads. Newts are amphibians (not all aquatic salamanders are considered to be newts). Other amphibians are the salamanders and caecilians; these two keep their tails in the adult form.
Attracting and supporting amphibians[edit | edit source]
If you'd like to do your part to help amphibians to thrive in your garden, yard or farm space, there are some things that you can do:
- Create habitat for the amphibians. See bog gardens for a suggestion for making a suitable habitat for amphibians. Let the grass grow nice and long in this area, to provide plenty of hiding space and slug attractant.
- Don't use pesticides anywhere near water bodies.
- Toss the slugs and snails near where you know the amphibians are living.
- Have an open compost heap near their home.
- Don't throw away leaves; place autumn leaves in a pile in areas where amphibians are likely to hide, such as under a hedge, under overhanging rocks or in small crevices or tunnels.
- Make a log pile habitat. This will attract not only the amphibians, but a range of insects as food sources.
- Read up on ways that you can help amphibians get through tough winters or drought seasons.