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Amphibian and Reptile Report for 2006

by Michael Thompson


Three common frogs appeared in Slingsby ponds on 9th March when the ambient temperature was 9°C, which occurred on the same day in 2005. By 13th March there were 52 pairs present, but they had dispersed a day later. The spawn subsequently became frosted and little survived. There was a second laying on 18th, followed by more frost. Small froglets were present in small numbers by mid-May, but many more were to be found along the old railway track Slingsby on 7th July. Successful breeding of frogs, in good numbers, were reported from the Arboretum at Castle Howard, Gilling Woods, Sykes House and a back garden in Kirkbymoorside where they were obseved throughout the summer. The number of frogs breeding in our pond has declined over the years, due to a number of factors such as predation by smooth newts and herons on frog tadpoles, along with poor water conditions due to increased leaf fall from growing nearby trees.

Common toads appeared in the Slingsby pond on 1st April with 3 males present. By 28th there were 15 present, predominantly males. However no spawn was laid; the pond, for some reason, is unsuitable for toad breeding. Common toads were reported from Sykes House, Gilling and back gardens in Kirkbymoorside.

Smooth newts moved into the Slingsby pond 1st April when 24 males were counted, along with 3 females. This was the largest count of smooth newts in our pond to date. By 21st June smooth newt tadpoles were observed still with their gills present. Smooth newts were described as plentiful at Sykes House.


Slow worm was seen in Gilling woods in July and a viviparous lizard at Sykes Intake on 13th of the same month. An adder was recorded at the Hole of Horcum in June.

Records received from Andrea Cooper, Tom and Janet Denney, Gill Smith and Michael Thompson.

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