NATURE / Reptiles and amphibians

There has been no detailed survey in the Kursiu Nerija National Park specializing in amphibians. However, an interesting variety lives here.

In the marshy places by the Curonian Lagoon lives the spotted newt (Triturus vulgaris). This is the most primitive amphibian, although this animal can recover its lost parts of body: tail, legs and even eyes.

On a walk before dark near deciduous woods, one can see the brown frog (Rana temporaria). This frog is rather big in size and lives on the land. But in springtime they gather together in water pools to spawn. Population increases appear on rainy years.

The moor frog (Rana arvalis) lives on the shores of the Curonian Lagoon, overgrown by reed and alder trees. Marsh frogs (Rana ridibunda) are also common here. In May during spawning they make very loud noises. The edible frog (Rana esculenta) likes similar habitats. It prefers warm water, and doesn't spawn until the water temperature reaches 20°C.

Common toads (Bufo bufo) are more common on dry places. They don't like direct sunlight and hunt at night. Toads are different from frogs in that they do not catch insects in the air, but hunt for worms, caterpillars and beetles creeping on the ground. The green toad (Bufo viridis) has also been noticed in the spit several times.

In spite of lack of proper habitats for amphibians in the Curonian Spit, some species are especially prevalent here. The natterjack (Bufo calamita) is on the Red List of Lithuania, but in the national park is rather common. They like sandy soils, where they can hide in the sand during a day. When night comes, these toads go hunting. They do not leap, but run instead and are very quick indeed. Thousands of their tadpoles grow up in the small lakes in the sand plain. Little toads travel to the lagoon and settle in the reeds. It isn't hard to recognize this species - yellow line goes along its green back.

At the end of spring in wet places one can see the common spadefoot (Pelobatus fuscus). Its skin has a camouflage pattern and therefore easily hides even in the scarce vegetation of the spit. This is a very mysterious animal - it hunts for insects and worms at night and spends the day hiding rather deep in the sand, which protects it from getting dry.
 
The sand lizard (Lacerta agilis) prefers dry openings. In the Curonian Spit they feel like it is paradise: plenty of insects, dry sunny grounds with little vegetation, that makes escape from enemies easy. His relative, the viviparous lizard (Lacerta viviparia), chooses more moist habitats.

Another representative of the lizard family, the slow-worm (Anguis fragilis), lives in the spit also. People call it a copper snake because of its shining colour. But this animal has nothing in common with snakes. It lives in various kinds of forest and feeds on worms, caterpillars, insects and snails.
Near Smiltyne the grass snake (Natrix natrix) was observed several times during the last few years. Because it had not been seen here before, there is a suggestion that these were brought from the continent by humans.


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FAQ
9. Where can I rent bicycles on Curonian Spit and are there any bike tracks?

The national park has a special 51km long bike track


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