Urban Wildlife - Common Frog

Common Frog (Rana temporaria) © Sean Browne

Fascinating Fact about Common Frog

Frogs are probably the most common amphibians in Britain. Unfortunately, they have come under a number of threats in recent years. Many of their usual breeding places are disappearing as ponds become filled in or polluted because of housing development or intensive agriculture. Over-collecting of spawn may be another factor in the decline of frog populations.

All about Common Frog

What to look for

The common frog grows up to 10cm long. It can be brown, grey, pink or yellow, with darker blotches all over. It has webbed hind-feet and a smooth, moist, slimy skin. A frog’s back is raised, with two ridges down each side.

When and where to see

Frogs can be found in or near almost any standing body of water, from ponds to ditches and lakes, though they are rarely seen in water outside the breeding season. Frogs are excellent swimmers, using their powerful hind-legs, which on land are frequently used for leaping up to six or seven times their own length. Garden ponds are becoming an increasingly important refuge for frogs forced out of their old habitats. It has been estimated that nearly 50% of frogs in Britain live in garden ponds. This can be good news for the gardener, as they eat a number of insect pests. Frogs usually return to the same pond every year. Frog colonies tend to be fairly small, so they can exist quite easily in garden ponds.

Did you know?

  • Frogs feed on insects, snails, slugs and worms. Tadpoles live on algae in the pond, and only become carnivores as they mature. During the breeding season, common frogs do not feed at all.
  • During mating, the smaller male clings onto the female ready to fertilise the spawn as soon as it is laid.
  • Frog spawn is laid in large clumps in shallow water. It takes about 3 weeks for tadpoles to emerge from the spawn and a further 12 weeks before they become mature froglets.
  • You should not collect spawn from the wild or move frogs or frog spawn from garden ponds into the countryside. This can cause the spread of invasive non-native plants and diseases that damage frogs and other wildlife.
  • Frogs hibernate at the bottom of ponds, under old logs, in stone walls or in compost heaps. 
    In a severe winter, frogs may die if the pond remains frozen for a long time: toxic gases such as methane build up from decaying vegetation, and cannot escape because of the ice. To prevent this, melt the ice from time to time by standing a saucepan of hot water on it.  

You can create habitats in your garden where frogs can thrive; log piles, rockeries, bog gardens and compost heaps all help to provide food and shelter for frogs and other wildlife. If you do build a pond, ensure it is safe for children by building a fence around it or by installing strong wire mesh just beneath the surface of the water. It is also important to ensure that frogs and other wildlife have an easy way out of the water, by having gently sloping pond sides or by placing planters at the edge of the pond which animals can use to climb out.


Links & Downloads

Videos on Common Frog

Common Frog

My pond filmed at night a Common frog sitting on its Frog spawn to protect it from other Frogs , filmed on 27march2011 207am

Running time 2.08 min


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