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Natterjacks saved by stripe

IT IS Scotland's rarest amphibian, clearly identified by the yellow racing stripe on its back.

The RSPB is now using its distinctive livery to help the natterjack survive the forthcoming winter along the Solway Firth.

Dr Pete Minting of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation has developed a way of identifying and monitoring the population by the stripe and patterns of warts on the toads as the organisation works with RSPB Scotland.

Natterjacks live in relatively small populations in some of the UK's least amphibian-friendly environments, such as heathlands, salt marshes and dune systems; all of which are unpredictable, changeable and provide limited access to fresh water.

The charity is now trying to boost their numbers.

RSPB Scotland worker James Silvey said: "The latest winter storms at Mersehead were some of the worst in living memory and we really weren't sure how the natterjacks would fare.

"Thankfully this has shown us that the toads are still here."

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