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Posts Tagged ‘frogs in the garden’

In the office this week we have been watching Sylvia’s latest video blogs, the first featured a large frog and the second a very tiny froglet, Kim has a pond in her garden and commented that she couldn’t mow the lawn because of the tiny froglets, Sylvia has froglets and toadlets in her garden, this got me thinking – how many people would be able to identify a toad from a frog?

 

Frogs & spawn

Frogs

What do they look like?

Common frogs have smooth skin which can be grey, olive green and yellow to brown with irregular dark blotches and a dark stripe around their eyes and eardrum and dark bars on their legs, they can lighten or darken their skin to match their surroundings, adults frogs grow to 6-10cm in length they can breathe through their skin as well as their lungs. In Spring frogs lay their eggs in large clumps this is called frogspawn.

Where do they live?

Common frogs are most active at night between February and October you can find them by ponds, lakes and canals and in meadows, woodland and gardens, in Winter they hibernate in pond mud or under piles of rotting leaves, logs or stones.

What do they eat?

Frogs eat snails, slugs and worms as well as insects which they catch with their sticky tongue.

 

Toad

Toads

What do they look like?

Common Toads have warty skin which can be dark brown, grey and olive green to sandy coloured, they have broad, squat bodies and they tend to walk rather than hop. To deter predators they secrete an irritant substance from their skin and can puff themselves to make themselves look bigger, females can grow up to 15cm long the males are slightly smaller, toads can live up to forty years.  In Spring Toads lay their eggs in long triple stranded strings in still water amongst water plants.

Where do they live?

Toads are more active at night and can be found in woods, parks, scrubby areas, fields, ditches, lakes and damp areas of the garden often in compost heaps, during the Winter they hibernate in deep leaf litter, log piles and in burrows.

What do they eat?

Toads eat slugs, worms, insect larvae and spiders occasionally larger toads eat slow worms, small grass snakes and harvest mice!

 

Provide the frogs and toads in your garden with a safe place to rest and hibernate by putting a

Frogitat – Ceramic Frog and Toad House

Frogitat - Ceramic Frog and Toad House

or a Woodstone Frog and Toad House Bunker

Woodstone Frog and Toad House Bunker

in a wild quiet corner of your garden.

You can watch Sylvia’s video blogs on facebook or by subscribing to ‘Sylvia’s Briefs’

Gill

 

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Frogs & spawn

There was much excitement at our house on Tuesday morning; we had got our first two blobs of frog spawn in the pond, we now have at least eight blobs. The frogs started to appear in the pond on Saturday 8th February and have been croaking on damp, mild days and especially nights ever since, I did a rough head count today from the window with my binoculars and counted 22 but I am sure that there are more under the water too. Last year the frogs appeared on 16th February but didn’t lay any spawn until 9th March but we had that long spell of cold, frosty weather making spring late, in 2013 the first blob appeared on 28th February.

Frogs spend much of their adult lives on land but return to water (usually the same pond) in spring to mate and lay their spawn, each blob of spawn can contain 1,000-2,000 eggs this may seem a lot but only a small percentage will survive the journey to adulthood, frogspawn can freeze or dry out and many tadpoles and young frogs are eaten by predators. Frogs lay their spawn in a single clump near the water’s edge often in the sunniest and warmest part of the pond; fresh frog spawn is firm and solid and will sink to the bottom, where it will absorb water and then float. Each single ball is made up of two distinct parts, in the centre is the dark ovum (egg), this will develop and grow into a tadpole, surrounding the ovum is a sphere of clear jelly, this jelly provides nourishment for the developing tadpole before it hatches as well as insulation from frosts and protection from diseases, predators and the sun.  If you handle frog spawn you will notice that the top of the ovum is black/dark brown and the underside is pale grey, this pale underside is the developing tadpole’s yolk reserve, always return the spawn to the water the right way up.

Spawn

Frogs can lay their eggs in the most inhospitable places – damp ditches, tractor ruts, temporary ponds in flooded fields and even puddles all of which can dry up very quickly. If you come across some wild stranded frog spawn or tadpoles rescue them and find them a new home in a nearby wild pond, to prevent the risk of spreading diseases it is not advisable to put them into a garden pond or likewise transfer garden frog spawn/tadpoles/frogs into wild ponds.

Both myself, Kim and Sylvia have ponds in our gardens all of which are home to many frogs, this year I am the first to have frog spawn – not that I am competitive!

Why not have a look for some frog spawn this weekend and take some photographs of it, make a note on your calendar or in a Wildlife Diary when you see your first frog spawn of the year.

Love your environment

Gill

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