Baltic Fund for Nature

Amphibians and Reptiles

Lake Ladoga area is a habitat for 5 amphibian species:

  1. Quite typical is smooth newt (Triturus vulgaris), which is ubiquitous around Ladoga. The species abundance is the highest is the southern and western parts of the region. Several occasions are known when hundreds of newts crossed highways in the Karelian isthmus during spring migrations to breeding areas (Darevsky, 1983). Their preferred habitats are mixed spruce and deciduous forests with abundant lakes, streams, swampy depressions.

  2. Range of Great crested newt (T. cristatus) in the Leningrad region is shaped as isolated patches, one of which belongs to the north-western Lake Ladoga area. The species is occasionally recorded from the northern Ladoga area in Karelia. It lives in shadowy mixed forests, meadows and vegetable plots. The species breeds in lentic or slow waters with grassy vegetation, showing preference for small bodies of water.

  3. Common frog (Rana temporaria) is numerous in the Lake Ladoga area. It dwells in all forest types, more often sticking to the lakeside spruce, birch and alder forests, mixed stands dominated by spruce, fields and meadows overgrown by scrub, forest margins and old clear-cut areas. The species rarely lives in dry pine forests. During the breeding season it occurs in large numbers in low-lying stretches of the shore strip in the south-east and south of Lake Ladoga.

  4. Moor frog (R. arvalis) is a less common species in the Lake Ladoga area, though its abundance has begun to grow gradually after a depression observed in the 1970-80's. It is not so fastidious about the moisture conditions as the previous species, and is therefore less often found in pine forests or mixed pine-dominated stands, in dry clear-cut areas. It is common in raised moss bogs.

  5. Common toad (Bufo bufo) more often occurs in the southern part of the Lake Ladoga area, though it may easily be encountered in the north of the region. In some south-eastern localities of the Lake Ladoga area it is quite abundant. E.g., up to a thousand of the animals inhabit the estuary meadow of a stream and reed stands by the Lake Ladoga shore in the Gumbaritsy area (Nizhne-Svirsky reserve). In the summer the species lives in deciduous, mixed and spruce forests, more often near fields and meadows, as well as in gardens and vegetable plots.

Reptiles in the Lake Ladoga are also represented by just 5 species:

  1. The rarest species among lizards is the sand lizard (Lacerta agilis) included in the Red Data Book of the Baltic Region. In the Lake Ladoga area it occurs in the lower reaches of the Svir river and on the Svir bay shore (Darevsky, 1983<). It lives in dry and sunny forest margins, light forested slopes, sandy beaches and cliffs.Through the sandy beaches of the Ladoga eastern shore the species penetrates into Karelia where it occurs up to Pitkaranta (Ivanter, 1975).Wellbeing of the sand lizard in the Lake Ladoga area is threatened by a decline in the area of the Svir bay beaches, which are being rapidly overgrown due to eutrophication of the lake.

  2. Common lizard (L. vivipara) - the most abundant species in the region, occurs throughout the territory.

  3. Slow-worm (Anguis fragilis) is rather rare in the east of the Lake Ladoga. It is a little more abundant along the southern shore; and may be considered quite common in the Karelian isthmus. The animals prefer drier sites. They inhabit the margins and openings of pine forests, deciduous and mixed forests, water divides and felled areas.

  4. Grass snake (L. vivipara) is regarded rather rare in the Leningrad region and Karelia On the other hand, grass snake is quite common, and locally even abundant, in the west and north-west of the Lake Ladoga area. E.g., on the Ladoga shore near Kuznechnoje one may see 2-3 animals in a 1 km passage. The species is numerous also in Valaam. In the south-east and south of Lake Ladoga grass snake is rare or not present.

  5. Adder (Anguis fragilis) occurs throughout the Lake Ladoga area in large numbers. It dwells in all forests types, in felled areas, openings and heaths, raised bogs and transitional mires. Adder may often be seen swimming in the Ladoga hundreds of meters from the shore. In some localities of the south-eastern Lake Ladoga area ( Gumbaritsy area) adder abundance reaches 15-20 individuals in 10 ha. There occur snakes belonging to several colour morphs, including very frequently observed black individuals.

According to the unchecked data, in addition to the reptile species listed above, there are some occurrences of the pond turtle (Emis orbicularis) in the south-east of the area near the village of Sviritsa. If the information is true, this fact should be regarded as the result of unintentional introduction into the area outside the basic range.

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  • Background
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  • Legislative basis
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