Auf den Spuren des «Glögglifroschs»

In Blauen BL, artificial ponds offer a safe home to the endangered Glögglifrog. An ideal family outing with a slightly spooky touch.

The colourful natural meadow is teeming with life. Grasshoppers are jumping briskly between blades of grass, while beetles and ants make their way through the jungle of flowers and herbs. Wasps are buzzing around. Mole burrows pierce the dry earth like an Emmental cheese.

Moles, birds, dragonflies and all kinds of beetles live around the densely overgrown pond in the centre of the picture.

Amazing biodiversity

We are on a meadow outside the village of Blauen in the Canton of Basel-Landschaft with 700 inhabitants. You can reach Blauen by train and bus from Basel in 45 minutes, or in even less by car. It's an ideal outing for families in Basel. After all, the pond is teeming with biodiversity: Blackberry, hawthorn and blackthorn bushes are competing for a place in the sun. Pink autumn crocuses bloom as a splash of colour around the pond, and a few metres up the slope stands a mighty walnut tree. But in particular, a spooky, fascinating toad with a strange name lives here – the midwife toad.

By the way, Primeo Energie not only promotes sustainable projects, but also offers exciting and educational afternoons for children. In the "Electricity from the Sun" workshop, for example, children can make their own solar vehicles – a perfect venue for a child's birthday party.

But where does the name "midwife toad" come from? The toad's behaviour is quite special. When it mates, it looks as if the male is sucking on the eggs to extract them from the female. The eggs therefore leave the female in a row like a string of pearls. The male then wraps this string around his hind legs and looks after them until hatching time.

The male midwife carries the fertilised eggs on his hind legs until they hatch.

The Glögglifrog, as the midwife toad is also known locally, lives in the ponds near Blauen that are lined up like a string of pearls and provide the endangered animal with a safe habitat. Despite its nickname, the Glögglifrog is a toad. It takes its name from its unusual mating call, which consists of short, high-pitched beeps reminiscent of a bell.

The Glögglifrog
Biological name: Alytes obstetricans
Size: 3.5 to 5 centimetres
Look: Vertical slit pupils, grey-brown back with warts
Mating time: The end of March to August. The mating calls can be heard during this time.
Behaviour: Likes sunny spots, which is why the ponds are also located on the south-facing slope.

The ponds provide a habitat for water lilies and pointed mud snails.

Exploring nature in spring

Although the midwife toad is threatened with extinction, there are some relatively large populations in the Canton of Basel-Landschaft. To connect the regional Glögglifrog populations, four new ponds have been created in the area around Blauen. Together with the existing ponds, these are intended to help save the Glögglifrog.

Bulrushes also grow on the ponds.

If you want to study the Glögglifrog, it's best to do so when it starts its mating calls in the evenings from March to August. If several males court females at the same time, it almost sounds like wind chimes. Courageous parents may consider handing their smartphone to their child so that the child can take pictures of the animal on their own. You can record the mating calls using the recording function. See, hear, smell – and capture digitally for all eternity. And don't forget to check for ticks after your trip. We hope you will enjoy yourselves!

The map shows where the different ponds are located.

The eco-fund

Primeo Energie has been offering electricity with the "naturemade star" certification since 2010. Customers can purchase this electricity from 100% renewable energy sources for a small surcharge. One source of this electricity is from two small hydropower plants in Laufen and Dornach, which are operated by the company aventron. For every kilowatt hour sold, one centime goes into the eco-fund, raising around CHF 75,000 each year. Primeo Energie is using this fund to finance ecological projects in the surrounding area, such as restoring the ponds in Blauen and renaturing the Birs river in Laufen. The eco-fund contributed CHF 45,000 to the above-mentioned project and thus financed half of it. aventron operates hydropower, wind and solar power plants in Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Norway.