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An evaluation of methods for studying natterjack toads (Bufo calamita) outside the breeding season

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We have investigated methods for finding natterjack toads (Bufo calamita) outside the breeding season at a range of sites in England. Success in locating toads in burrows or in other natural refugia was very variable between sites, depending on the nature of the substrate and availability of accessible alternative hiding places. Provision of artificial refugia (flat tiles) was also variable in success rate depending on local conditions, and even at the best site, tile use was highly seasonal with maxima in spring and autumn. Night searching was the most successful method for finding toads, readily applicable to all sites and facilitating contact with around 10% of the population in a single night, especially when weather conditions were optimal (i.e. after rain and with air temperatures above 9° C).

Affiliations: 1: School of Biology, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QG, UK


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