30 December 2011

Have I Got Newts for You - December News

Your monthly round up of reptile and amphibian news from around the world, spotted by Froglife’s Conservation Communication Officer Lucy Benyon.

Is it a bird?... No, it’s a frog.
Northern Vietnam has shown to be home to a small species of frog that sounds more like a bird than an amphibian. The newly discovered Quang’s tree frog uses clicks, whistles and chirrups in uniquely random combinations.  Further research in Vietnam has uncovered over 200 new species, including a psychedelic gecko - the lizard has bright orange legs, a yellow neck and a blue body with yellow bars on its bright orange sides; it was discovered on an island in southern Vietnam.
Source: Mongaby and The Telegraph

Is it a beetle?... No, it’s a frog
At only 8-9mm long Paedophryne dekot and Paedophryne verrucosa are the smallest frogs in the world. These tiny amphibians live amongst leaf litter in New Guinea, where miniaturised frogs are fairly common. The females of these species are so small they’re only able to carry two eggs.
Source: Science Daily 

Glimmer of hope for world’s most threatened tortoise
The ploughshare tortoise, or angonoka, is native to the island of Madagascar but burning of its habitat and capture for the pet trade left the wild population plummeting. For the last 25 years the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust has been working to stop the species disappearing forever and this month has been celebrating after releasing 20 captive-bred tortoises into the wild. In 1998 the tortoise’s natural habitat was declared a National Park, the first in Madagascar created to save a single species, and it’s hoped these amazing reptiles have now taken another step away from the brink of extinction.
Source: Wildlife Extra

Location of new horned viper kept a secret
Scientists have discovered a uniquely coloured horned viper in the forests of Tanzania but are keeping quiet about its location. New species, like Matilda’s horned viper, are under threat from the pet trade so the further details about its habitat are being kept under wraps. Several individuals have been collected by researchers to initiate a captive breeding programme.
Source: Mongabay

American ‘toads on roads’ group premiere their documentary
A ‘Toads on Roads’ group in Philadelphia have just screened the premiere of their documentary ‘The Toad Detour’. Every year thousands of America toads were being killed near Roxborough until the group leapt into action. The 40 minute film features footage of the toads migrating and interviews with some of the Patrollers.
Source: NewsWorks 

Amphibian skin in the spotlight
Odorous frogs – so-called because of the pungent smell of rotting fish they give off – could hold the key to dealing with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Researchers found that the frogs secrete numerous chemicals to deal with the multitude of bacteria that share their warm, wet habitats and they could prove crucial in the fight against antibiotic resistance. Research has also been underway to investigate the decline in hellbender giant salamanders – scientists have been looking at micro-organisms on the skin that might explain why the salamanders are failing to regenerate tissue after injury.
Source: io9.com and The Sticky Tongue Project

23 December 2011

Expedition to a Frog Museum

With Froglife staff and trustees likely to add to their own collections of frog-inspired gifts this Christmas, guest blogger Charlie Roscoe informed us about a collection to beat all them all.

Some of Froglife's favourite frogs - the knitted stars of our Christmas card
Charlie is a biology graduate of Bristol University, recently studying purple-faced langurs in Sri Lanka and tracking bison around the forest of Białowieża, Poland. Aside from this interest in rather large and hairy forest residents, her frog fixation lead her to a Polish Frog Museum. Charlie shares her adventure below.

"Frog fanatics of Eastern Europe have really gone the full mile in promoting amphibian awareness; the Muzeum Żaby in Kudowa-Zdrój is a truly eclectic collection of all things froggy. Literally translating to “frog museum”, the small gallery exhibits all the expected specimens and displays, but has something extra special lurking in its depths.

Guests are advised before arrival to bring for donation their favourite froggy item, which is integrated into the mounting stash of ornaments, cuddly toys, cups, clocks, pictures, and more, all sharing one overwhelmingly green theme: Frogs. They’re stacked floor to ceiling and the sheer quantity shows how much the Polish nation loves these little hoppers.

The quirky frog museum is as much of a curiosity as a naturalist’s educational tool; with displays on a variety of species including the Pool Frog that was recently, and so far successfully, reintroduced to Norfolk. Prominent conservation issues are truly brought to life here through the donation of everyday commercial objects; effectively making science a more memorable, interactive and exciting experience.

All just another leap in the right direction for reptile and amphibian protection, thanks to charismatic global icons such as Kermit and Freddie!”
You can do your bit to help conserve frogs by becoming a Froglife friend from just 34p a week. Click here to find out more about supporting Froglife’s work.

19 December 2011

Last chance to enter our musical raffle!

Need a last minute gift idea, or an exciting day out in the New Year to look forward to? Entering Froglife’s raffle could be just the ticket!

With support from the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, the draw will be at the Grim’s Dyke Hotel in Middlesex on New Year’s Eve and tickets are available from Froglife until 5pm on Thursday 22nd December.

We have some wonderful raffle prizes for your £2 ticket that have been very generously donated:
The Grim's Dyke Country Hotel
The beautiful Grim’s Dyke hotel was the home of Sir William Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan fame, and Froglife’s Great Crested Newt Revisited project helped the hotel with some restoration work on their lake to improve the local habitat.

Tickets for the raffle are just £2 each and available from:
  • The Froglife website here or by calling the office on 01733 558844 until 5pm on the 22nd of December
  • Or from reception at the Grim's Dyke Hotel until the draw on New Year’s Eve.
All the proceeds from the tickets will help support Froglife’s work in 2012.

A big thank you to all the organisations supporting the draw, and good luck to everyone that enters!

Photo: Sivi Sivanesan

8 December 2011

A Froglife Song for Christmas!

Froglife Friends Zamba, who’s bouncy Froglife song was inspired by the plight of amphibians and roads, have an EP which features the Froglife single - an ideal Christmas gift.

Zamba have been busy with lots of gigs in and around their native north Devon, and were even shortlisted for the Best Reggae Act in the South West Music Awards!
The Zamba crew (in person and virtually!) at the South West Music Awards
The carnival band contacted Froglife earlier in the year to let us know we had inspired their creativity, and the hopping Froglife song has been the theme tune for events in London and Manchester so far.  A donation from the profits of the Froglife song will help support our Toads on Roads project.
  • You can buy the Froglife single online from iTunes and Amazon
  • Hard copies of the Froglife EP are available from the band. A perfect Christmas gift, the CD also makes a difference for wildlife! They are available for £6 including postage and packing by emailing Della on zambaband@hotmail.com
There are lots of other goodies available in the Froglife shop on our website here!

7 December 2011

Glowing Support to Help Toads Cross Roads

Froglife has teamed up hi-tech light specialists The Glow Company to support volunteers saving toads. 
As the weather begins to become warm and damp in spring 2012, Common toads (Bufo bufo) will wake up from their winter hibernation.  The only thing toads are interested in every spring is getting back to their breeding ponds –generally not just any old pond, but the pond they grew up in themselves.  They will try to get back there, no matter what is in the way – including busy roads.
A Common toad Bufo bufo crossing a busy road 
Some animals are lucky enough to have one of Froglife’s Toad Patrols to help their crossing.  This can help give local toads a fighting chance of survival into the future.  In spring 2011 alone, over 67,000 toads were saved by Toad Patrol volunteers all over the UK.
“Thanks to our Tuppence a Toad fundraising appeal launched last October, Froglife can offer extra support to help the volunteers with the next migration,” explains Liam.  “They can get in touch with us to access free resources like buckets and hi-vis vests.”
On top of this, The Glow Company will be offering a 15% discount on any of their luminescent products to all Toad Patrollers in time for next spring.  Useful items for keeping safer whilst protecting toads include LED traffic batons, wand torches, head torches, and glow in the dark hi vis vests.
  • If you are interested in becoming a volunteer Toad Patroller, Froglife can put you in touch with your local patrol, or support you to set up a new patrol at a toad hot-spot. 
  • You can also help Common toads by creating a compost heap or log pile in your garden, creating a pond, and avoiding the use of slug pellets and other garden chemicals.
  • Toad Patrollers can find more information on the Froglife website – www.froglife.org and access the discount by contacting Froglife on 01733 558844 or emailing Liam Atherton liam.atherton@froglife.org
Beautiful greetings cards featuring toads are available in the Froglife Shop, and make a perfect gift for Christmas!  Find out more here.

2 December 2011

Have I got newts for you – November

Snakes on the slide
Here in the UK, experts in the South East have just declared that the adder is in more urgent need of new conservation efforts than any other reptile or amphibian species in Britain. At a recent conference, delegates heard about the drastic loss of habitat and resulting isolation and inbreeding that are contributing to declines. Meanwhile, Cyprus’ endangered native grass snake Natrix natrix cypriaca is on the verge of becoming extinct according to the island’s leading reptile expert. Despite funds being pledged for a breeding programme little has been done and drastic loss of habitat are threatening the dwindling population. In the US, an unusual step has been taken to try and establish if the South Florida rainbow snake has become extinct – a reward of $500 is on offer for verified sightings of the snake.
Sources: Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group, Cyprus Mail, Center for Biological Diversity

Frog match-maker service
Conservation group Amphibian Ark is aiming to connect supporters/donors with amphibian conservation projects in need via a new match making website. The site is currently includes 48 projects, many of them captive breeding initiatives, across 23 counties. The site is already off to a flying start – Denver Zoo has received some funding to establish a rescue population of the Lake Titicaca water frog.
Source: Mongabay

New studies shed light on deadly frog fungus
Several Researchers from San Francisco State University have mapped the emergence of the chytrid fungus in Central America by swabbing museum specimens. They’ve shown that the fungus marched southward during the 1970s and 1980s. This breakthrough technique allows species that have vanished from the wild, and only exist in jars in museums, to be tested for the fungus. Further research has been carried out by a team of international scientists, led by Dr Matthew Fisher of Imperial College London. They’ve found that trade in amphibians may be responsible for spreading the fungus. By allowing non-lethal forms of chytrid to come in to contact with each other, new lethal strains have been created which have decimated amphibian populations across the world. Another study, led by Dr Christian Hof of the University of Copenhagan, shows that the fungus is part of a three-pronged threat (with climate change an habitat loss) which could cause amphibian populations to decline faster than previously thought.
Soureces: Mongabay, Zoological Society of London and The Guardian

More species on the IUCN redlist
In November’s IUCN magazine two more frogs have been added to the ‘critically endangered’ list. The Green-eyed Bush Frog and the (fabulously named) Resplendent Shrub Frog are found in Western Ghats and Munnar and a recent study led by Delhi University found both species to be declining. Meanwhile, Madagascar’s snakes and lizards have also been added to the IUCN red list. Madagascar has over 370 species of retile, 95% of which are found nowhere else. Sadly, 40% are threatened with extinction.
Sources: IBN Live, and Conservation International

You can hear more news from the amphibian and reptile world by following Froglife on Twitter here

A great way to suppport wildlife is by becoming a Froglife Friend through an annual donation.  You can sign up to make a difference at the Froglife website here.

25 November 2011

Raise funds for Froglife while you shop!

Will you be shopping online this Christmas? Thousands of us choose to browse and shop via the internet at this time of year rather than face the hordes of shoppers fighting their way to the tills. And now there’s an even better reason to stay indoors…
Don't brave the cold - you can help conservation and stay cosy as you shop this winter!
Give as you Live allows users to shop online at their favourite stores and at the same time raise money for charity – at no extra cost. It’s quite simple, just click here and then follow the link to get going.

“This is a great way to make a difference as you shop,” says Froglife’s Sam Taylor. “It’s so easy and there are no hidden costs – you can shop away as normal but you'll be raising money for us at the same time. It’s a lovely way to give a little bit extra at Christmas – without actually having to give a little bit extra!”

There are hundreds of retailers to choose from on Give as you Live – from supermarkets to department stores, travel agents to fashion outlets – so you’re sure to be able to get everything on those Christmas lists. Funds are generated by shops sending a commission to Give as you Live when you buy something; this is then passed on to your chosen charity so a donation is made without you having to spend a penny extra.

- You can get started with Give as You Live here
- Don’t forget we also have a range of Froglife Christmas gift ideas on our website, with all profits supporting our work. You can sponsor a snake (or other species), purchase beautiful art prints of toads or stock up on stocking fillers like ‘Make Frogspawn Not War’ bags and frog cards. Check out our Frogalogue.*

It’s only a few weeks till Christmas and the weather is turning colder – but luckily you can do all your shopping and still stay in and keep cosy (just like amphibians and reptiles are doing!).

*Last dates for Christmas orders from the Froglife website are 13th/15th December.

You can also make donations directly to Froglife to support our work via our website.  Click here to find out more about how you can support conservation this Christmas.

23 November 2011

A Week in My Wild Life

Our My Wild Life project, sharing wildlife memories from different generations in Peterborough, has been gaining momentum. Project Officer Jodie Coomber tells us about one of her busiest weeks yet…

Monday 14th November
I’ve got two sessions and a conference workshop to prepare for this week so it’s all a bit hectic! Laura (Wildlife Ambassadors Project Officer) has been helping out and we’re all set for the first session tomorrow.

Tuesday 15th November
Today’s session is with St Andrews Church in Netherton, where members of the church friendship group meet with House Captains from neighbouring Thorpe Primary School. Norman shares some great stories about the freedom he had to disappear on his bike for days growing up in Scotland, and memories of watching salmon make their difficult journey upriver. The young people also meet Lorna, who grew up in the Caribbean and was terrified of the lizards that were everywhere!
Norman talking to some of the pupils from Thorpe Primary School
Wednesday 16th November
Another busy day of sessions. The newly formed Age UK Gunthorpe Friendship Group are meeting students from Thomas Deacon Academy at the Paston and Gunthorpe Community Centre. More really interesting memories are shared, including from Joan who remembers catching butterflies in order to save precious vegetables from caterpillar attacks during World War Two. The young people listening and interviewing are fantastic and really interested in hearing more.

Thursday 17th November
Tomorrow Peterborough is hosting the third annual Intergenerational Conference at the Salvation Army Citadel. We’re really excited to have been asked to carry out reminiscence workshops throughout the day. Laura and I are making decorations for the room we’ll be in – we’re going all out and creating an indoor picnic area complete with pond and kites flying overhead.

Friday 18th November
The conference is fantastic! A brilliant networking opportunity to meet local people doing similar work in Peterborough and learn more about their intergenerational practice. We also share our thoughts and experiences on how to manage intergenerational work based on the project so far.
Froglife’s workshop room at the Intergenerational Conference
It’s been a very busy week but all the hard work was worth it. We heard lots of fantastic childhood stories this week, highlighting some of the differences between the generations, and I’m grateful for the support from all the organisations involved. We’re looking forward to more of the same with future sessions in 2012.

- You can find out more about Froglife's My Wild Life project here
- If your group or school is interested in getting involved in sharing some childhood memories of climbing trees or catching tadpoles, please get in touch with jodie.coomber@froglife.org or 01733 558844

Froglife works to conserve amphibians and reptiles and the wild habitats they depend on.  We also aim to enthuse future generations with a passion for wildlife and the great outdoors.  You can support our work by becoming a Froglife Friend here.

18 November 2011

Thank you for Tuppences for Toads

Life as a Common toad isn’t easy – these small amphibians face big challenges when returning to their breeding ponds every spring, and thousands of them are killed on roads as they migrate. Since the 1980s Toad Patrols of hard-working volunteers going out on damp evenings to rescue toads.  Froglife would like to thank these volunteers on behalf of the thousands of toads they save every year.

We launched Tuppence a Toad in October 2010 - a yearlong push of extra effort to spread the word about the plight of Common toads far and wide. Through your generous support, Tuppence a Toad has raised extra funds to help protect toads into the future.

Lots of your tuppences will be helping Common toads
With lots of help from our Friends and supporters, the Tuppence a Toad appeal has had some great outcomes:
  • Over 1,000 people have been directly involved in our toad talks and events, including a Tucking in the Toads Pyjama Party, a giant toad-crossing installed in the centre of Peterborough for National Science and Engineering Week, An Evening at Toad Hall auction and dinner, a Big Saturday for families at The Manchester Museum, and a toad-themed evening with the Zoological Society of London featuring an exhibition of famous toads including Mr Toad, Frog and Toad and Gabriel from Bagpuss.
  • Over 3 million people have been reached through our promotion and publicity about Toads on Roads and what they can do to help.
  • Through engaging with audiences including families, artists, gardeners, land owners and students we have improved opinions about toads - from strange, warty creatures to vulnerable animals that are a valuable part of our natural heritage.
  • With your help, we raised just over £13,500 through Tuppence a Toad, with approximately £4,600 of that set aside for a funding pot to help Toad Patrollers with materials to get out saving toads. 
Toad Patrollers can access free resources to help them help toads in 2012 by getting in touch with Liam Atherton on liam.atherton@froglife.org or 01733 558844. They can also access a special 15% discount off products from The Glow Company to help make sure they are visible on those dark roads next year!

Ongoing support for toads:

Although our big year of talking toads has come to an end, it won’t be the end of the efforts to keep fundraising, learning and protecting toads in bigger and better ways. The Tuppence a Toad appeal will remain open to raise the £4,000 needed every year to keep Toads on Roads going, and we are in a much better position to support toads and the volunteers that come to their rescue.
  • The Froglife song has been created by lovely carnival band Zamba, it's downloadable from iTunes and Amazon with donations going to help toads.
  • Ongoing coordination of the Toad Patrols, including insurance, mapping,
  • New Froglife toad merchandising including lovely greetings cards designed through an illustration competition and ‘protect a toad’ gifts to keep fundraising.
  • Beautiful new and improved toad ponds created in London and Glasgow to help local populations.
  • The creation of educational materials and resources featuring toad mascots Widdy and Wigbert named through our competion last year to help us keep spreading the word about how toads need our help.
  • survey of planning departments and toad protection measures across the UK, plus a review of the data from Toad Patrollers leading to new on-the-ground projects and publications in 2012 to increase protection for toads.
  • Research and new on the ground projects to help inform best practice for toad conservation.

On behalf of all the Froglife team, Widdy and Wigbert and all the toads, I would like to thank you for your generous support and involvement with Tuppence a Toad – whether you sponsored someone, donated tuppences, came to an event, entered a competition or provided support through your business.

You can see some of the pictures from Tuppence a Toad on Froglife's Facebook Page here.

Photo: Laura Brady

11 November 2011

Adder Themed Meeting in the South East

Fancy finding out more about Adders and the latest work to help conserve them? Kent Amphibian and Reptile Group are hosting the South-East England regional ARG conference on the 19th November at the University of Greenwich Medway campus. The UK’s only venomous snake, subject of Froglife's Spring 2011 newsletter, will be the theme of the day.

“There will be various speakers and discussions on Adder conservation,” says Jo Richards, from the Kent ARG. “Lunch, teas and coffees are provided in the ticket price which is £10 for ARG members and £20 for non members. The more people that can attend, the more can be learned and discussed!”
An Adder, with distinctive zig-zag markings
Adders have been in the nature news headlines recently due to serious concerns about the survival of small, isolated populations of the animals. There is also ongoing research to monitor Adders for potential genetic problems. The conference will cover include presentations on the issues facing the stunning reptiles from by speakers from the South East, as well as France and Switzerland.
You can help protect Adders and other reptiles through Froglife's new Sponsor a Species gifts.  For just £10 you can Sponsor a Snake  - find out more here.

Photo: Jules Howard

9 November 2011

Inform Our Future and Enter a Prize Draw

Froglife is asking Croak readers, volunteers, Froglife Friends, Facebook Friends and Twitter followers to help improve our services by completing a short survey. Anyone sharing what they would like to see more of from Froglife via the Supporters Survey will also be entered into a draw for a Froglife goody bag.

Share your thoughts to enter a draw to win a Froglife bag packed with goodies!
“We’re really keen to know what people think about our publications and online presence so that we can keep improving,” explains Sam Taylor, Froglife’s Communications Coordinator. “We had a big rebrand in Summer 2010, and the survey asks what you think of the new-look publications and website, your involvement with Froglife so far, and what you’d like to see more of.”

So, if you’d like to read more stories about amphibians and reptiles across the world or learn more about policies and science, now is the time to tell us! Perhaps you think our Natterchat magazine should only be available online, or that these Croaks are too long? Whatever your views, we’d love to hear from you.

The Froglife Supporters Survey will only take a few minutes and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a froggy Christmas present!” adds Sam. “It’s crucial for us that the things we do meet the needs of our supporters, so please take a moment to help inform our future.”
Our Froglife Friends provide vital support for our work saving animals, habitats and changing people’s lives. You can become part of our mission by signing up as a Froglife Friend here.

7 November 2011

Tune in to our Gilbert and Sullivan Raffle

This week sees the launch of a Froglife Raffle being held with the support of the Grim’s Dyke Hotel and the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company.

Over the next 6 weeks we will be selling raffle tickets for just £2 through our website and at the colourful music events run by the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company at the Grim’s Dyke Hotel.
The beautiful Grim's Dyke hotel, where Froglife has helped with pond restoration
The lake on the hotel grounds was built by Sir William Gilbert in the 1890’s and plays in important part in Gilbert’s history.  On the 29th of May 1911, he suffered a heart attack and died whilst attempting to save one of his guests who had got into trouble whilst swimming.

The remnants of this historic boating lake were surveyed and found to support Great Crested Newts by Froglife’s Great Crested Newt Revisited project (funded by the SITA Trust) and local volunteers. 

We have some wonderful raffle prizes for your £2 ticket that have been very generously donated:

- An opera package with the Grim's Dyke Country Hotel in London
- A family ticket on a fantastic amphibious bus with the London Duck Tours
- Entry for two for Hampton Court Palace
- Entry for two at London Zoo or Whipsnade thanks to the Zoological Society of London
- Two tickets for a produciton at the Harrow Arts Centre thanks to Harrow Council
- Two tickets for Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

The draw for the raffle will be at the hotel on New Year’s Eve and the funds will help to support our work protecting wildlife and habitats, and life-changing education projects.

With fantastic prizes and a better chance of winning then the lottery, why not take a flutter on this fantastic raffle? Tickets are £2 each and available at the Froglife website here , from reception at the Grim's Dyke Hotel, or by calling the Froglife office on 01733 558844

4 November 2011

Tips for a Frog Friendly Bonfire

As we do every November, Froglife is reminding people to thoroughly check their bonfires for wildlife before lighting them …
Keep an eye out for hiding amphibia!

At this time of year, toads, frogs and newts are all looking for somewhere safe and frost-free to see out the winter. A big pile of logs, leaves and twigs may be the ingredients for a perfect bonfire, but they’re also an ideal hiding place for amphibians, hedgehogs and all sorts of other garden inhabitants.

Here are a few tips to make help make your celebrations more wildlife-friendly:
  • Collect your wood and other bonfire materials in a separate place to where you’ll be having the bonfire, and move them just before you want to light the fire, ideally as late in the day as possible. If you’re going to an organised event you could get in touch beforehand and ask if they need any help searching for uninvited guests!
  • If you do come across any animals, just transfer them to a similar habitat in another part of the garden. They may be a little disorientated but the disturbance won’t do them any harm.
  • Just before lighting, have a last check through with a torch and then ensure the fire is only lit from one side so anything left within has the chance to escape.
  • Try to burn only clean, untreated wood on your bonfire, with no nasty varnish, paint or plastics so you don’t release toxic chemicals in the smoke.
  • You could create a permanent log and leaf pile specifically for frogs, toads, newts, lizards, hedgehogs and other creatures to hide in over winter in a quiet corner of the garden. Other wildlife-friendly features include compost heaps and rockeries. Find out more here.

 So, have fun this fireworks night but remember what might be buried in your bonfire!

You can also help amphibians and reptiles by shopping with Froglife - all sorts of goodies are available in our Frogalogue here.
Photo: Sivi Sivanesan

Have Yourself a Froggy Little Christmas

As shops across the country fill up with festive finds, are you looking for a gift that gives to wildlife too? Froglife’s Frogalogue has a range of goodies including gifts and cards to help you have a jolly green Christmas...
Pack of 3 frog cards designed by Hannah Thomson

Art for Amphibians

Printed on recycled paper with colourful designs, Froglife Christmas card designs feature frogs and toads available at £3-5.  Illustrator Hannah Thomson has also designed an exclusive set of gorgeous greetings cards featuring whimsical frogs for £3, and we still have a pack of colourful toad-inspired notelets for £4. New for this year, we also have some beautiful prints of photographs and paintings for £25.

Fill a Stocking for Frogs
The Frogalogue features a number of small items, as well as the greeting cards, that make perfect stocking fillers - including Toads on Roads magnets at £1 and fair-trade ‘Make Frogspawn Not War’ cotton bags at £2.
Froglife's Make Frogspawn Not War cotton bag

Ssssspecial offers!
Whether you’re shopping for a student, an intrepid explorer or an all-round amphibian and reptile lover our ‘bundle bags’ are a bargain. Starting at £10 they contain a host of goodies for a discounted price and will be a sure winner under the Christmas tree!

Gifts that Give
This year we have a range of ‘Sponsor a Species’ gifts – for £10 you can Fight for Frogs, Sponsor a Snake or Protect a Toad; we will send you a certificate, some information about the species you are helping and a thank you gift on behalf of the animals! Froglife Friendship (an annual donation that supports our conservation and education work) also makes a great present idea.

Simple Shopping

1 November 2011

Ever thought about becoming a trustee?

Just in time for Trustee Week, Froglife is looking for two new recruits to join our friendly, dynamic board of trustees – one with human resources experience and one with accountancy experience.
Be part of Froglife's mission to protect landscapes like this!
Trustees provide a guiding role for Froglife’s work, making decisions about our future direction and how we’re going to get there. They also help with fundraising and ensuring the sustainability of the charity. Prospects are exciting for Froglife – we are looking to develop, grow and strengthen our work to protect reptiles and amphibians and find creative, inclusive ways to inspire people to take part in our conservation mission.

Joining our six fantastic current trustees, the ideal candidates will be inspiring leaders, clever fundraisers and proactive problem-solvers with a passion for the great outdoors. If you have current or recent experience of HR, accountancy or financial management, whether from the charitable or business sector, this could be a really interesting way to broaden your experience and help to make a difference.

The commitment involves attending quarterly trustee meetings in our Peterborough office, working as part the team to make decisions and liaising with Lin Wenlock, the Chair of trustees, on emerging issues between meetings.

You don’t need to be a wildlife expert - it’s more important that you share our commitment to protecting animals and empowering communities to conserve local landscapes.

Interviews will be held at a mutually convenient time in our Peterborough office with Lin and Kathy Wormald, Froglife’s CEO.
You can also support Froglife through a donation or by becoming a Froglife Friend. More information on how you can help Froglife is available here

31 October 2011

Have I Got Newts for You - October News

Your monthly round up of reptile and amphibian news from around the world, spotted by Froglife’s Conservation Communication Officer Lucy Benyon.

How climate change could cause amphibian extinctions
Researchers at Brown University have been looking at the impact of climate change on amphibian movements. Researchers argue that whether an animal can make it to a final, climate-friendly destination isn’t simply matter of whether they can travel, but whether they can withstand the rapid fluctuations in climate along the way. Using climate forecasting models, it was determined that more than half of 15 amphibian species in the western United States would become extinct or endangered.
Source: Irish Weather Online

Florida’s invasion problem
Florida’s native ecosystems are currently battling 137 non-native reptiles and amphibians species introduced in the last 150 years. 25% have been traced back to just one importer, and pets, such as Burmese pythons too large for their owners to cope with, are a major factor
Source: Wildlife Extra

Frogs on roads
Amphibians on the other side of the world are currently emerging to breed and facing familiar problems to UK species. In Taiwan a local ‘eco group’ has been set up to help Sauteris frogs as they migrate across roads to their breeding ponds in the Tashapei region of Hsinchu County.
Source: Taipei Times & BBC News

Lizards vs Oil
Environmental groups in America are pushing for the small dunes sagebrush lizard to be added to the Endangered Species List, giving it federal protection. However, opponents say this could endanger oil production as the lizard is dependent on shinnery oak which only grows in New Mexico and Texas – these areas are also home to the richest resources of oil and gas in the USA.
Source: Fox News

Another reptile declared extinct but elsewhere two new species of amphibian are discovered!
There was sad news from the USA this month when the South Florida Rainbow snake was finally declared extinct after not being recorded since 1952. But there was good news from Australia where two new species of boulder-dwelling frog have been discovered in Queensland. The golden-capped boulder frog and kutini boulder frog are both around 5cm long, giants compared to their rainforest-dwelling cousins who rarely reach more than 2cm.
Source: Wildlife Extra & Australian Geographic

28 October 2011

Scottish Herpetology Meeting - register today!

The Scottish Herpetology Meeting 2011 is designed to bring together researchers, workers and hobbyists involved with amphibians and reptiles throughout Scotland.

The meeting will be held on the 5th November 2011 and is being hosted in the University of Glasgow. PhD student Anna Muir is organising the meeting and is currently researching the impact of climate change on common frogs in Scotland.

“Amphibians and reptiles within Scotland are significantly less understood, researched and actively conserved than elsewhere in the UK,” says Anna. “This meeting aims to engage herpetologists who are endeavouring to address this problem and enable interaction, development of links and cooperation to further amphibian and reptile conservation within Scotland.”

The day will comprise of a series of talks and introductions by a variety of speakers, including Froglife Trustee Professor Roger Downie, followed by discussion groups. The meeting will run from 9.30am until 4pm in the Graham Kerr Building and costs £5 for ARG UK members and students and £10 to others.

Please note that registration will close today (Friday 28th October). Click here to register and for more information.

27 October 2011

Half-term Halloween Fun!

Looking for some half-term Halloween fun this week? We’ve got some great activities to keep you busy.

Amphibians and reptiles are often (rather unfairly!) associated with Halloween - but if you can’t beat them, join them! Here as some spooky snake suggestions and terrifying toad ideas…

Snake cupcakes
Follow our instructions for some ssssimple but ssssspooky serpentine treats! We’ve used vanilla cupcakes but you could use your favourite flavour if you prefer. For a more Halloween-y look, add some green or orange food-colouring to the cakes. You’ll need tubes of coloured icing to draw on the patterns.

Dangly snake mobiles
Print out this template on to coloured paper or card and decorate to look like one of our native species. Cut out the snake shape and hey presto – a dangly snake to scare people with!
Snake mobile template.

Grass snake bracelets
Did you know you can make a fab grass snake bracelet out of a toilet roll tube and some felt? It’s so easy and is a great accessory to any Halloween costume.
Grass snake bracelet instructions.

Find out more about real snakes.

Origami toads
Toads, like cats, are witches familiars. Follow these instructions to make your own hopping toad out of paper. If you’re having a Halloween party, get all your guests to make a toad and then have a race.
Origami toad instructions.

Colouring in toads
Once you’ve coloured in your toad you could cut it out and stick it on your wall to add to your Halloween decorations.
Common toad picture.

Find out more about real toads.

And don’t forget you can help real amphibians and reptiles at this time of year by creating safe places for them to see out the winter – log piles, rockeries and piles of old leaves and garden debris are great hideaways for all sorts of wildlife. Find out more.

Froglife's work conserving reptiles and amphibians depends upon donations. You can help us protect habitats, save animals and introduce wildilfe to new audiences by contributing your donation here. Every penny is vital!

25 October 2011

If you go down to the woods…

Froglife will be at Nene Park Trust’s 'Woodlands Day' on Thursday 27th October – why not come and join us?

Held at Ferry Meadows Country Park, Peterborough during the half term week, it’s hoped that the event will draw plenty of families ready to be enthused about wildlife. The main attraction on the Froglife stand will be the wildlife memory board, run by My Wild Life project officer Jodie Coomber. “We’re hoping to collect childhood wildlife memories from the public and encourage them to join in with reminiscence sessions running throughout the day” says Jodie. “We’ve got some special items to remind people of their childhood adventures with wildlife and we hope parents and grandparents will bring the kids along and pass down their memories.”
Froglife will be running other activities throughout the day for young and old, including making origami frogs and snake bracelets, and playing wildlife games. Froglife experts will also be on hand with tips to make your garden pond perfect for wildlife and provide answers to your reptile and amphibian queries.
Other activities on the day include chainsaw carving, woodcrafts and demonstrations for all ages based on the theme of wood, woodlands and wildlife. There’ll also be archery, a climbing wall, ferret roulette, the CBBC Live ‘n’ Deadly trail, bushcrafts, a tree climbing demo and more!

Come along and join in the fun between 11am and 3pm. Check http://www.neneparktrust.org.uk/ for details. Free admission and free car parking, but there may be a charge for some activities.

Find out more about our My Wild Life project.

You can help support Froglife's work engaging people of all ages in looking after the natural world by becoming a Froglife Friend from just £1.50 a month. Click here to find out more.

20 October 2011

My Wild Life heads for the Capital….

Froglife's My Wild Life project will be holding its first reminiscence session in London on Tuesday 25th October at Foots Cray Meadows in Bexley. Project Officer Jodie Coomber explains more...
One of the pic nic baskets to prompt wildlife memories
We'll be travelling down to London with pic-nic baskets full of books, model animals and other goodies to prompt happy memories of climbing trees and looking for tapoles.  This will be part of an event hosted by the Friends of Foots Cray Meadows. It’s a lovely way to kick-start My Wild Life in London as Froglife’s Living Water scheme is responsible for the fantastic new ponds on the Meadows and we’ve enjoyed working there in the past.

We hope that families who come along will share their stories of growing up and interacting with nature in different ways, and plan to film some interviews for our growing archive.  It will be interesting to find out how stories from London compare with the ones we’ve heard so far in Peterborough.

There will also be tree planting sessions, so this event offers an exciting half-term opportunity for families to come along and share their experiences whilst learning about the opportunities provided by Foots Cray Meadows as a wildlife habitat and public open space.

The event will be held in the Information Centre between 11.30am and 1.30pm so if you’re nearby please come along and join in the fun.

You can help support Froglife's work engaging people of all ages in looking after the natural world by becoming a Froglife Friend from just £1.50 a month.  Click here to find out more.

Photo: Jodie Coomber