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Netherlands becoming a real ‘Frogland’ again in the world

Amphibian population increases

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AMSTERDAM - The Netherlands, as a term of endearment to many of its own citizens, for quite some time has had the nickname Kikkerland (frog land). It refers to the country’s unstable weather and the wet soil, the occasional inundation of meadows, pastures and other low-lying areas, where supposedly only frogs could prosper. Perhaps the term also had a prophetic connotation, since in recent years the amphibian population of the country, the frogs and the toads, actually are thriving again, while elsewhere in the world, these creatures are dwindling in number.

Frogs and other amphibians prosper in the Netherlands in large part as the result of environmental policies, which have stimulated the creation of improved habitats. New wetlands have been added, existing habitats and migration routes have received better protection, and the quality of surface water has improved.

Since the previous survey in 1997, certain species of the frog population have quadrupled, as is the case with the tree frogs. Also prospering are brown and green frogs, although the small green frog, also known as pool frog (Rana lessonae), as well as the moor or heather frog (Rana arvalis) did not benefit as much from the changed circumstances. This pair dwells on sandy soil.

The Netherlands as Frogland also is home to an increasing number of toads. The population of ordinary toads grows by four percent a year, but the worldwide-endangered yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata), although extremely rare, thrives as well. Its number has been growing by more than ten percent a year. Their habitat is limited to five marl quarries in Limburg.

Other toads indigenous to the Netherlands include the midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans), the garlic toad, and the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita).