you worried that youll be overrun by a veritable plague of
tadpoles and froglets this spring? Well, dont panic because
expert advice is available from environmental advisor Colin Green.
familiar sight during Spring is the garden pond coming alive as
frogs hook up for the first time to spawn after their long winter
hibernation. Colin explains:
tend to panic around this time of year because frogs are coming
out of hibernation, they're going down to the pond and what they've
obviously got their mind on spawning.
average female will lay about 3,000 eggs. If you've got a female
there, you've got a huge amount of frog-spawn."
of frogs ... not!
around 3,000 eggs from one breeding female, you'd imagine your garden
pond would be rammed with growing frogs. However, this isn't the
case as Colin reveals:
if you're not sure about the ecology of frogs, the first thing that
pops into your mind when you see the frog-spawn is 'goodness me,
by the summer I'm going to be up to my armpits in frogs!'
know for a fact that, out of the 3,000 eggs, something like five
might make it to be an adult. It's not a lot when you think about
everything gets eaten by all sorts of predators. In the pond there
will fish, including goldfish, who will eat them. Newts, water beetles,
dragonflies and nymphs will eat them. We're talking about the tadpoles
pond seems like a dangerous place for these growing frogs but life
doesn't get much easier on land either. Colin explains:
they're lucky enough to make it onto land then other creatures will
be eating them. Everything from foxes to hedgehogs to rats - a variety
of animals will feed on them.
is why so much spawn is laid at the beginning of the year. The young
frogs not attended to by their parents, they're left to fend for
themselves so they compensate by laying huge amounts of spawn."
passion for frogs
has a real passion for frogs, that comes from his study of their
extraordinary life cycle. How they've evolved is something he finds
truly fascinating. He says:
always had a passion for frogs, and toads I hasten to add. They
amaze me. As human beings we tend to think we're pretty good in
the animal world but forget it. But you look at a frog - it starts
off as an egg in water, then develops into a tadpole with a tail
and gills. Then a matter of weeks after that the back legs start
to appear and the tail starts to disappear. It then grows a front
pair of legs, develops a pair of lungs and crawls out onto the land.
Wow - is that mind blowing or what! That really makes we think that
evolution has worked overtime here.
at the same time, they can do wonderful things like breathe through
their skin at the bottom of a pond through water. That is just amazing.
They can jump up to seven times their own body length - all these
things make me in awe of this particular creature."
in your pond
you've found that your pond is loaded with the jelly-like mass of
frog-spawn then you might be tempted to clear it out or take it
by bucket to the nearest pond and dump it. But, according to Colin,
his is the wrong thing to do. He says:
question I get asked quite often is 'can I remove the frog-spawn?'.
The answer is that is shouldn't really be moved. The reason is that
you might be moving disease. There is a disease called Red Legs
in frogs - you may not have that in your pond but you don't know,
you might be moving that disease around.
no circumstances do you move frog-spawn from a garden pond to a
wild pond. The reason why is not only the disease factor but because
you have to consider that your pond might have some aquatic plants
in it which are not native to Britain and you might be transporting
their seeds in the spawn. If you do that you might be upsetting
the complete ecology of that wild pond, and most probably end up
spawn in you pond as nature will literally take care of it in its
own way - it will be the hamburger in the food chain. Everything
will be eating it and you'll be left with one or two."
for your garden
believes that frogs are nature's friend and that they play an important
part in maintaining a natural balance in our gardens. They're not
a pest, in fact the opposite - they're actually really good for
your garden. He reveals:
are pretty good in the garden, they're great biological controllers
because they feed off slugs and snails for instance. So it's pretty
important to have a few in your garden."
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