Animal Care

Frogs & Toads

frogHopping it

In the spring, toads go back to their ponds to mate. Sadly, many of them will die crossing the road, but there are ways people can help them.

Carrying them across the road to safety will greatly help their chances of survival. Wearing gloves to protect your hands, gently pick the toad up by its body and carry it across when safe to do so. Always makes your safety the priority - wear light reflective clothing and bring a torch if it's dark.

Spare spawn?

Sometimes people worry that they have too much spawn in their garden pond. You can never have too much as only five out of every 2,000 eggs are thought to survive into adulthood.

Fish, birds, newts, water shrews, water beetles and insects eat tadpoles - tadpoles also eat each other! So laying such a large number of eggs is necessary for the species to survive.

Sometimes tadpoles do not develop into froglets or toadlets - instead the tadpoles get larger and larger - up to 12cm long. The most likely cause of such incomplete development is too low a temperature in the pond.

Gardeners' friend

Gardeners should welcome frogs and toads - both eat a lot of beetles, bugs and woodlice. Frogs also eat a large number of slugs and snails, and toads favour ants.

Don't be surprised if you find toads or frogs in your greenhouse - they are attracted by the warm, moist conditions and will live quite happily eating the insects and other small creatures that also live there.

Garden hazards

Frogs and toads are often the victims of careless strimming and mowing, especially in grass that is not kept closely mown. Nylon gardening netting, used to protect fruit and vegetables, can trap and slowly kill amphibians and other wildlife.

If you use nylon netting make sure the mesh size is at lease 4cm (1.5in) and kept taut. And always check your bonfire pile before lighting it!

Later on

During the autumn, as night-time temperatures drop towards freezing point, frogs and toads look for winter quarters. Female and immature frogs and most toads overwinter on land in sheltered places such as under old logs or in stone walls.

Most male frogs return to the water and lie dormant at the bottom of the pond. If the pond freezes over for a long time, there may be problems for the frogs - they will suffocate when all the oxygen in the water has been used. This risk can be reduced by regularly melting the ice on part of the pond by placing a pan of hot water on it. This method cuts out the possibility of shock waves harming whatever is living in the pond.


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