Spring into action!

Recording wildlife is an easy way to get involved in wildlife conservation. Throughout March, April and May, we're asking you to help Norfolk's wildlife by sending us your sightings of three iconic spring species: common frogs, common toads and slow-worms. You don't have to be an expert – all you need to do is tell us when and where you spot these species!

Common frogs breed in shallow water such as large puddles and ponds, and are normally most active at night when they feed. You may have already heard the males croaking to attract females, which happens every spring. Common toads prefer deeper water to breed in, such as open grassland ponds and farm ponds. Slow-worms are lizards, but are often mistaken for snakes. They are found in a variety of habitats including heathland, woodland edges and can also be found in gardens and allotments.
Records of these species help inform us of the condition of our freshwater habitats, and can alert us to potential problems such as disease and habitat loss.

Our current total of wildlife records submitted for this survey are

Slow Worm

Common Toad

Common Frog

Log your wildlife sightings here...

Sighting locations so far...


Common Frog
Common Toad
Slow Worm
We need records for common toad and common frog as they help to inform us of the condition of our freshwater habitats and can alert us to potential problems such as disease, and in the case of both amphibians and slow-worms, habitat loss.

Common toads prefer deeper waterbodies in which to breed, including, open grassland ponds, farm ponds and village ponds. They produce a toxin from their skin that makes them unpleasant to predators. Signs that predators such as otters or other small carnivores have preyed on toads include discovering toad skins in or around your pond, where the predators have removed the toxic part of the toad.

Common frogs breed in shallow water bodies such as large puddles and ponds. They are normally most active at night when they feed on a wide variety of invertebrates. In spring, males croak to attract females. They are often seen in urban environments and are one of the first species to find newly created ponds.

Slow worms are lizards, but are often mistaken for snakes. Unlike snakes, they have eyelids, a flat forked tongue and can drop their tail to escape from predators. It is a Priority Species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, identified as being threatened and requiring conservation action. The slow-worm is found in a variety of habitats including heathland, tussocky grassland, woodland edges and rides where they can find invertebrates to feed on and stay warm. They can also be found in gardens and allotments, particularly where there is little disturbance by humans. Slow-worms are a good indicator of the health of the habitats they utilise.
Common Frog
Despite its name, this species is declining in numbers. Its slender body, smooth skin and long...
Common Toad
The common toad can be identified by its preference for walking rather than hopping, along wit...
Slow Worm
The smooth and shiny, snake-like body of the slow worm is fairly distinct and differs from Bri...
Your records will help us build a picture of the distribution of these species, helping us to find if there any existing strong holds for these species in Norfolk.

Common toad

  • Common toads don’t spend much time in the water and can survive in drier conditions than frogs.
  • They travel long distance to large areas of deep water to breed and can climb walls and cross roads to get there.
  • The skin of the common toad, and its tadpoles, contains toxins to deter predators. If predators, hedgehogs, otters and other small carnivores, do take a common toad they strip off the toad’s skin to enable them to eat it.
  • Only male common toads croak.
  • Common toads’ eggs are laid in long strings, these strings can be 2-3 metres long and contain over 600 eggs.
  • Shakespeare mentioned the toadstone in As You Like It. Toadstones were believed to form inside the toads head and protected its wearer from being poisoned.

Common frog

  • Common frogs breed in shallow water, including puddles, ponds and lakes. This makes garden ponds very important for frogs.
  • Male frogs will hibernate in the mud at the bottom of their breeding pond so they are in the right place at the beginning of the breeding season.
  • Although frogs don’t live in water and can be found up to 500m from water, they need to stay in a moist atmosphere because they breathe through their skins.
  • Not all frogs are green – they can be a range of colours. Although they are usually olive green or brown their colour can vary from yellow, to lime green, pink or even black.
  • Common frogs catch their prey with a long sticky tongue.
  • Some late developing tadpoles will overwinter in their pond maturing into frogs the following spring.


  • The slow-worm is not a snake but a legless lizard. They are the most common reptile found in gardens.
  • Unlike a snake slow-worms have eyelids and a flat forked tongue.
  • If a slow-worm is threatened it can shed its tail to distract the predator.
  • Male slow-worms are usually bronze to grey and the females tend to be browner than the males but some slow-worms, usually males, have blue spots.
  • Slow-worms incubate their eggs internally and give birth to the young in transparent sacks that are quickly broken.
  • Although slow-worms are reptiles and cannot regulate their own temperature they don’t usually bask in the sun but hide under things that warm up. They like woodland edges, compost heaps and churchyards as these are places where they can find warm humid places to rest.

Download the reports on our previous surveys

   Brown-hare,-barn-owl-and-common-frog-survey-April,-May-and-June-2015 Download   
   Hedgehog,-House-Martin-and-Red-Admiral-Survey-August-2015 Download   
   Water-vole,-grass-snake-and-Himalayan-balsam-survey-July-2015 Download   
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Have you seen any other wildlife recently? We would love to hear about it... Notify us now

How to take part in this wildlife survey...


The quickest way to take part is by clicking on the submit button below. You will then be asked: what you saw, when you saw it, where you saw it and who you are.

By phone

Phone Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife Information Service on 01603 598333. Don’t forget you will need to tell us: what you saw, when you saw it, where you saw it and who you are.

By e-mail

Send us an email to wild@norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk. Don’t forget you will need to tell us: what you saw, when you saw it, where you saw it and who you are.

Take part today...