The Natterjack Toad (Epidalea calamita)



The Natterjack Toad grows 4 to 8 cm tall. A special characteristic is the yellowish-white stripe, which runs from the head over the back to the abdomen. The skin of the natterjack toad is greyish to greenish and mottled with greenish to greyish-brown patches. In addition, it has relatively short hind legs, which is why, unlike the other European frogs, it moves mainly running.



In Europe, the Natterjack Toad occurs from the Iberian Peninsula in the southwest to southern Sweden and Belarus in the northeast. In Germany, the Natterjack Toad is represented almost everywhere and can often be found in post-mining landscapes.

© DGHT registered association. (Ed. 2014): Dissemination atlas of amphibians and reptiles in Germany, based on data from the federal state authorities, expert working groups and NABU federal state expert committees of the federal states as well as the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation.


The Natterjack Toad was originally found mainly in floodplain landscapes. Today, the pioneer species mainly colonizes secondary habitats in open and vegetation-poor areas. Land habitats are warm and dry areas that can be found today in active and former sand, gravel and clay pits, quarries or military training grounds. In addition, the soil substrate must be relatively loose (e.g. sand), as the Natterjack Toad often digs itself into the soil in addition to using crevices as hiding places. As spawning waters, Natterjack Toads prefer very sunny and temporarily water-bearing shallow and very small waters.



The male Natterjack Toads begin their characteristic loud mating calls between the end of March and the beginning of April. Between April and May the spawning lines are deposited in shallow, mostly temporary waters. A spawning line can contain 1,000 to 9,000 eggs. Within a few weeks the tadpoles can develop into small toads. Thus they are perfectly adapted to the temporary spawning waters, which can dry out very quickly.



The destruction or impairment of small and very small water bodies by filling or disposal of waste, the use of fertilisers and environmental toxins, as well as the emerging succession endanger and destroy many habitats of the common toad.


Conservation status

Protected throughout Europe according to the flora-fauna-habitats Directive (annex IV) and categorized "strictly protected" according to the Federal Nature Conservation Act. Strictly protected species may not be caught, injured or killed. It is also forbidden to disturb them by visiting their habitats.



Literature reference:  Sinsch, U. (1998): Biologie und Ökologie der Kreuzkröte. Laurenti-Verlag, Bochum.