INTO ACTION FOR FROG VICTORY
As amphibians are jumping at the chance to get hot under
the collar with their cold-blooded mates, garden owners
are being urged to pull on their wellies and get digging
to help our common frog and newt, remain, well common.
Kelly Muldoon from the Ulster Wildlife
Trust explains: “As
the weather warms ups, frogs and newts are starting to
make their way en masse to the nearest pond to breed – but
it’s not always plain sailing. Almost 70% of natural
ponds were lost during the last century and of the few
that remain, only a shocking 8% are in good condition.
What’s more, once beetles, fish and birds have had
their fill of irresistible tadpoles, only a handful will
make it to adulthood."
Here are the Ulster Wildlife Trust’s top tips on how to help maximise
Make a wildlife pond
When creating a pond, choose a flat sunny spot in the garden away from overhanging
trees. Dig a deep section (around 1m) in which amphibians can hibernate and provide
lots of shallow water (less than 20cm deep) in which to spawn. Make sure the
pond is watertight and ideally fill it with rainwater.
Don’t put fish in your pond
Goldfish might look pretty but they’ll quickly finish off tadpoles and
frogspawn, and even tiny sticklebacks are likely to prevent newts from breeding.
If you want a healthy population of amphibians, forget fish.
A wide variety of native underwater plants will ensure
a successful pond. Particular favourites for breeding
amphibians include water starwort, water forget-me-not
and water mint. Avoid non-native species such as floating
pennywort and Australian swamp stonecrop as they can
take over ponds completely, leaving them choked-up and
Never move spawn, tadpoles or wetland plants between
Although it’s tempting, it’s best not to
introduce pond life yourself as you could spread amphibian
diseases such as red-leg virus, which can wipe out entire
frog populations locally or transfer invasive aquatic
plant species by mistake.
Let your grass grow
Amphibians love to head straight for the cover of long
grass after a swim, so let it grow nearby. You could
even make a wood pile or a rockery - shelter from which
they can emerge to hunt for slugs, snails and invertebrates.
No garden, no problem!
If you don’t have space for a pond, don’t despair – make
a mini container pond instead. Simply fill half a barrel
or sink with water, stock with some native water plants
and pile up some stones in a corner right up to the edge,
so animals can easily climb in and out.
from the Ulster Wildlife Trust>>
year's frog fest >>