Now it's spring, you might spot some frogs near your local ponds and damp spots. They're emerging from hibernation and heading for ponds to find a mate and breed. We've pulled together some top facts to get you up to speed.

What do frogs and tadpoles eat?

Small frogs eat insects such as flies and moths, as well as snails, slugs and worms. They use long tongues and sticky saliva to catch prey that passes them by. 

Tadpoles eat algae in the ponds they grow in. As they grow, they feed on plants and small insects. If there isn't enough food available they might even eat their fellow tadpoles.

How do frogs breathe?

Frogs can actually breathe through their skin. It's very thin, allowing oxygen to pass through when the frog is underwater. They can also breathe through the lining of their mouths. They do have lungs, but only use them when they need to top up their oxygen levels.

Tadpoles breathe through gills, like fish, but lose these as they mature into frogs.

How long can a frog stay underwater?

A frog can stay underwater from anywhere between a few minutes to a few months! It depends how active they are. A frog that's moving around a lot may not get enough oxygen through its skin while underwater so it will have to come up for air. However, a hibernating  frog may stay buried in the mud at the bottom of a pond for the whole winter.

Is it okay to take frogspawn home and watch it develop?

No, it's always best to leave creatures where you find them. Moving frogspawn form one pond to another could spread disease and disrupt their development.

Instead, find a pond close to you and visit regularly to see frogspawn develop in its natural habitat.

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This time of year is perfect for spotting amphibians on their way to mate. Find out how they attract mates, reproduce and develop.

How to build a frog pond

If you want to attract frogs to your garden, a frog pond is the way to go. You’ll need to be within 100 metres of an existing habitat, but frogs rely on lots of options for somewhere to settle so you might get lucky.

You’ll need:

  • A shovel
  • A large sturdy container
  • Old bricks or bits of wood
  • Some small pond plants

Instructions:

  1. Choose a container that can withstand bad weather.
  2. Dig a hole big enough for the container and place it inside.
  3. Use rainwater to fill your pond – tap water is harmful for pond life.
  4. Add bricks or wood to make steps to help frogs in and out of the pond.
  5. Add your pond plants.
  6. Wait for the frogs to arrive! Even if you don’t get any visiting, birds, invertebrates and even small mammals might stop by.

What to feed frogs

If you’ve noticed frogs in your garden, it’s most likely that they have plenty of food about already. Make sure to not put out slug pellets, primarily because they can harm frogs, but also because frogs will do the pest control for you!

It helps to make sure a patch in your garden grows wild and is full of native plants to attract as many tasty insects as possible, as well as providing shelter for any amphibian visitors.

Keep exploring