They’ve arrived! A bit early, but hopefully they know something that we don’t!
Typically, frogs breed in February and March. Tadpoles hatch and grow from April to May and the froglets leave the pond in June and July.
When you go down to the big pond quietly, treading softly, you can hear the frogs before you see them. A lovely gurgly croaky music. I can get quite close to them as long as Mikey is not about and I have some great photos of the goings on.
Here are 10 froggy facts –
- The common frog ( Rana temporaria )is the only species of frog found in Ireland and it is listed as an internationally important and protected species.
- When they leap, they retract their eyes back into the sockets to protect them from damage.
- On land, they breath through their nostrils and in the water, through their skin.
- The frog can camouflage itself and get darker. It takes about 2 hours to change colour.
- Frogs have 5 toes and 4 fingers.
- Male frogs are not fussy – they jump on any passing female they can get their hands on and grip her with their nuptial pad on their front legs – a position called amplexus.
- The female lays over 2000 black eggs while the male releases sperm.
- Frogs return to the same pond year after year.
- Terrestrial habitat is important, so to encourage frogs, you need to leave long grass and scrub around your pond for foraging and also stones, logs, hedges nearby for them to hibernate.
10.Predators here are otters, foxes and herons, not to mention MAN! They are threatened by the deliberate burning of bogland. They are poisoned by fertilizers, ammonium, cadmium, zinc and copper, UV radiation and many road migration deaths caused by traffic.
Their lives and survival are hazardous, and I am always so glad to see them arriving safely to the pond.
Every year we have to get our friend Liam to come over with his digger to dredge out as much as he can of the pond weed. Last year, Klaus went in with waders after he had cleared it to get the last strands left but it came back with a vengeance and in January, we couldn’t see the water for the weed.
Soon we will have the heron back every day, but there are so many frogs, he can’t get them all. Hopefully they have got it right and the really cold frosty weather is behind us and we can look forward to spring.
I have used the pond for inspiration for many of my paintings.