Common frog

Latin name: Rana temporariacommon frog

Length: 6 – 10cm

Where: Any ponds, pools or puddles for tadpoles, wet grass near to ponds of adults

When: Spring and summer

Finding frog tadpoles in a mountain pool, or a puddle on a muddy track, is one of the excitements of spring. They seem to turn up in the most unsuitable places – and many will perish if dry weather makes the puddles disappear. Because they lose so many young frogs lay thousands of eggs at a time, turning favoured ponds into a mass of jelly-mould frogspawn.

On first glance you may find it hard to tell the difference between frogs and toads. Look a little closer and you will see that frogs have a smooth, moist skin, rather than the toad’s lumpy, dry coat. Frogs also have a darker mask around their eyes that toads lack. If you see them move frogs often hop, while toads tend to crawl off in a rather sulky way.

It takes about 16 weeks for the newly-hatched tadpoles to turn into fully-fledged, if tiny, frogs. They will then leave the pond to forage for slugs and snails until the autumn chill drives them back to hibernate – often in the mud at the bottom of the pond. They can actually breathe through their skin, which helps them to survive in this inhospitable environment.

Find out more at:

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust

Any natural place contains an infinite reservoir of information, and therefore the potential for inexhaustible new discoveries.

Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods