Ducks by an irrigation pond

The Mallorcan Midwife Toad or ferreret (Alytes muletensis)
Indigenous to Mallorca
The ferreret, as it is known locally, is an amphibian which is unique to Mallorca. Inhabitant of the Serra de Tramuntana, the mountain range, for at least 5 million years, it was believed extinct until 1980.

The Ministry of the Environment operates ses Figueroles, a country property covering almost 100 hectares in the Selva area, as a reserve for the amphibian. It is an ideal habitat as it cannot be reached by car and there is a torrent which is normally full of water - a vital necessity for the toads. As long as there is sufficient water, it could provide a home for up to 500 pairs. The surrounding rocks are karstic with holes which provide safe hiding places for the toads. In addition, there are no water snakes or weasels, their chief predators.

Adult toads are very difficult to spot, although experts estimate that there are some 700 to 1,400 reproducing pairs. They feed on small insects, worms and other small insects that live under stones or in the cracks in the rocks. And, in the last census, it was estimated that there were some 17,00 tadpoles although, of course, only a few dozen will actually survive. One of the many peculiarities of this toad is that it is extremely resistant to cold. It seems surprising that Mallorca, with its reputation for sun-bathed beaches, is the home of the European amphibian which is most able to resist the lowest of temperatures. This is probably because the waters where it lives receive little of this famous sun!

page 2

Busqueda del sitio