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North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan
Natterjack Toad Epidalea calamita
1. Current Status
1.1.1 The Natterjack Toad is a western European species. Outside of its stronghold in Spain and Portugal, where it remains widespread and common, its status is regarded as unfavourable due to large population declines.
1.1.2 Its distribution and abundance declined markedly in the UK during the 20th century due to loss of habitat (heathland, sand dune and upper saltmarsh). Natterjacks are now restricted to four natural sites in Scotland and 35 in England plus 13 sites to which it has been reintroduced.
1.2.1 In North Merseyside the Natterjack Toad occurs on the Sefton Coast in seaward dunes between Southport and Hightown. In 2000 it was present on 13 sites (three of which are reintroductions). The breeding population is estimated just over 1000 females.
1.2.2 The largest populations are on Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR and Ainsdale and Birkdale Sandhills LNR. Natterjacks are absent from much of the dune coast and some breeding sites are relatively isolated.
1.2.3 Natterjacks require a mosaic of habitats in fairly close proximity: wet slacks and pools of varying depths some of which hold water until mid- to late summer for breeding; short grassland and bare sand for feeding; and open sand ridges for burrows.