All you need to know about Frog spawn

, 10 March 2024
All you need to know about Frog spawn
Frog spawn © Ross Hoddinott/2020VISION

By Charlotte Owen

WildCall Officer

Every year, WildCall gets lots of phone calls from people worried about the frog spawn and tadpoles in their ponds. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions.

1. What type of spawn do I have?

Frog spawn is always laid in big clumps, usually in shallow water. Toad spawn comes in long chains like a string of pearls and is usually laid in deeper water, draped over pond weed and submerged plants. Newts lay individual eggs on the leaves of pond plants.

2. I'm worried that I've got too much Frog spawn in my pond.

There really is no such thing as too much Frog spawn! Unfortunately it's a tough life for a tadpole: they have a lot of natural predators and are susceptible to various amphibian diseases, so female Frogs lay thousands of eggs each year with the expectation that only a tiny fraction will survive to adulthood.

3. My spawn hasn't developed properly.

This can be a tricky one. There are lots of factors that affect whether spawn develops: it may be to do with the Frogs or it may be to do with the pond. The most common cause of spawn failure is lack of light and late frosts. Frog spawn needs a lot of sunlight and a lot of warmth to develop properly, so shady ponds with deep water are not good for spawn.

4. Should I move the spawn into a separate pond?

We never recommend moving spawn or tadpoles between ponds as this can spread non-native plant species and amphibian diseases. There’s also a risk of moving spawn from the perfect Frog pond to one that is far less suitable. Ponds may contain a big black mass of writhing tadpoles but this is how it is meant to be. Just sit back and enjoy watching these amazing amphibians.

5. I've got lots of newts but no Frogs. Why?

Newts and Frogs are not mutually exclusive, but they do tend to have a bit of a boom-bust relationship. Newts eat Frog spawn and tadpoles, so a pond with a large population of newts will tend to have fewer Frogs. However, late-stage Frog tadpoles can eat newt tadpoles, so a pond with plenty of Frogs may not have many newts. They can co-exist if numbers are more balanced. It may be that your pond is just more suitable for newts than Frogs but this isn't a bad thing, and newt habitat is just as valuable as Frog habitat.

6. I’ve found Frog spawn in a puddle at risk of drying out – what should I do?

Frogs do often spawn in puddles and other temporary water bodies, which offer the ideal conditions of warm, shallow water. It can be a risky strategy but the hope is that the spawn and tadpoles will develop quickly enough to emerge as froglets before the puddle dries up.

We do not advise moving spawn or tadpoles between ponds due to the risk of transferring amphibian diseases, so it’s probably best to let nature take its course. If you want to give them a helping hand, you could rear some in a tank or bucket of rainwater, then release the froglets back where you found them. See our guide to rearing tadpoles for more information on how to look after them: 

7. I’ve found a Frog/spawn in a bucket/watering can/unusual location – what should I do?

Frogs do sometimes spawn in strange places, especially if there isn’t a suitable pond nearby. Adults can become trapped in steep-sided containers, so it’s best to lift them out gently and place them in a patch of long grass or dense vegetation, where they are sheltered from the sun and safe from predators. If you do have a pond, you can move the Frog and/or spawn into the water. If you don’t have a pond, consider creating one – and in the meantime you can rear the spawn in a bowl, bucket or shallow tray of rainwater, placed in a sunny, sheltered position. See our guide to rearing tadpoles for more information on how to look after them. 

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Comments

  • Phil Brooke:

    A trick I learned from a friend as a school pupil more than 50 years ago is that you can feed tadpoles through both the vegetarian and carnivorous stage (before they start taking live prey, but you need to release them before this stage) on wheatgerm. They will learn to feed upside down at the surface – the very small wheat embryos going straight inside the mouth. As a Biology teacher for 20 years we reared lots of frog and toad tadpoles this way. The daphnia which multiplied of the bacteria which grew from their faeces fed the newt tadpoles (and later stage frog tadpoles, though these need to be released by the four leg stage whilst they still have tails since they become very poor swimmers and suddenly nervous of people as soon as they absorb their tails).

    Wheatgerm a good solution for vegetarians who want to rescue spawn from a puddle, but also rather fun to watch their feeding habits.

    17 Mar 2022 12:05:00

  • Tina Litchfield:

    Thanks for this information. We have two big clumps of frog spawn in our garden pond. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that some of them manage to survive.

    17 Mar 2022 13:25:00

  • Brenda Kenward:

    Really interesting.

    17 Mar 2022 14:11:00

  • patricia Joan osbaldeston:

    This year there is a great clump where the dark bit is grey/ white rather than black and I’m wondering whether it was frost damaged? Also the weed seems to have suddenly reached the pond – should I remove it because its suffocating the other weed or leave it because the tadpoles seem to hisde in it.

    Answer: This can be a tricky one. There are lots of factors that affect whether spawn develops: it may be to do with the Frogs or it may be to do with the pond. The most common cause of spawn failure is lack of light and late frosts. Frog spawn needs a lot of sunlight and a lot of warmth to develop properly, so shady ponds with deep water are not good for spawn.

    17 Mar 2022 14:31:00

  • Philippa Hopkins:

    I have had a frog pond for many years which usually has a lot of spawn in it. Last year my frogs starting dying shortly after spawning and I kept finding dead and dying frogs in or near the pond. I was afraid I wouldn’t have any spawn this year but I seem to have had just as much. Could it have been mainly the males that were dying? It hasn’t happened before. When there was a frog plague in the area (East Grinstead) some years ago that killed a lot of frogs, my frogs survived without problems.

    Answer: Sadly, adult amphibian deaths can be caused by many things. In the spring, lots will be eaten or killed by predators like herons, rats, foxes, grass snakes and domestic cats, which make the most of lots of frogs gathering in one place to breed. Female frogs may die of exhaustion after spawning. Read more here

    17 Mar 2022 17:27:00

  • Heather:

    Have enjoyed reading your article – very helpful. Have had frog spawn in one of my ponds and look very healthy. Nevertheless, have noticed there is a newt lurking and will obviously eat lots of tadpoles. Hope one or two frogs will survive!

    17 Mar 2022 18:18:00

  • Clive Bach.:

    We have a good sized clump of frog spawn in our small pond
    When the spawn become tadpoles should I feed them and if so…. on what?

    ANSWER: If spawn is in a pond, then you shouldn't need to feed the tadpoles when they emerge. Just watch them develop.

    18 Mar 2022 07:12:00

  • Gordon Sharp:

    Thanks. Very useful & sensible advice. And…..isn’t nature extraordinary!

    18 Mar 2022 08:26:00

  • Margaret Nelson:

    Our mini pond, made from a plastic box , has a huge clump of frogspawn in it. I noticed that the black embryos seem to be going white, does this mean that they are not fertilised, and should I take them out of the pond at some point if they’re not?

    Answer: It could be that the spawn was not fertilised. This often results in the spawn turning cloudy in colour and sinking to the bottom of the pond. Or it could be down to the environment. The two things that all spawn desperately needs to develop properly are light and warmth. No need to remove it as other wildlife will consume it.

    18 Mar 2022 09:48:00

  • Ann:

    Wonderful tale about the wheatgerm, thank you! I have lots of spawn in my small pond… to protect the creatures i’ve used an old piece of trellis resting on stones etc around the edge of the pool so there’s a gap large enough between pond & stones for the froglets to climb in & out . I hope it’ll prevent Reynard & the cat from ‘fishing’. So far so good!

    18 Mar 2022 10:27:00

  • Heather:

    Have enjoyed reading your article – very helpful. Have had frog spawn in one of my ponds and look very healthy. Nevertheless, have noticed there is a newt lurking and will obviously eat lots of tadpoles. Hope one or two frogs will survive!

    18 Mar 2022 13:08:00

  • Jethro Busby:

    Very interesting article – Sadly there doesn’t seem to be any spawn in my pond this year, maybe there yet will be.

    18 Mar 2022 14:14:00

  • Sallie:

    Hi there,
    We have lots of very large spawn in our large pond but, I have noticed that the eggs are getting furry or are covered in algae. The pond has a good fresh circulation from a local culvert. Any clues?

    ANSWER: It sounds like it might be mould, this would indicate that unfortunately the eggs were unfertilized or have since died. Occasionally, the top layer of spawn can be caught in a frost and killed, although often the spawn under the water can still survive.

    18 Mar 2022 14:22:00

  • Paul Scott:

    Re tadpoles dying very quickly. This happened in my pond and I reckoned it was foul water. Every two years in late autumn clear out as much sludge from the bottom of the pond. If it smells like rotten eggs then the water is contaminated. I’d also recommend removing most of the water during a rainy spell. Carefully to keep any larvae safe.

    18 Mar 2022 17:27:00

  • Jay Cooper:

    I’ve had frogs and spawn in my small pond for many years, and I saw froglets in the garden last year. This year I’ve not seen or heard frogs though I heard croaking last Autumn. Now the pond and garden is empty of frogs and spawn. Has the local fox eaten them en route to my garden? Soo disappointing, especially for my small grandsons.

    ANSWER: Sorry to hear that your Frogs have not returned yet, this could be due to a number of factors - including the local environment, suitable overwintering sites etc. It is possible that they still might turn up. Predation can be a factor, but is unlikely to be the sole cause. Lots of animals and birds do eat Frogs, including Foxes but only as part of a varied diet, so I wouldn't think that is the likely cause in this case.

    18 Mar 2022 21:35:00

  • Thanks. Very useful & sensible advice. And…..isn’t nature extraordinary!

    20 Mar 2022 07:01:00

  • Jenny:

    I went walking up in Yorkshire and there was a shallow big very high up. Stupid question, how did the frog find its way up there to spawn?

    ANswer: Frogs can live in a wide range of habitats, as long as there is water, food and shelter. After the winter, male Frogs will start searching for ponds using predominantly visual cues; scent appear to be less important. Once at water bodies, males start calling for females and this will bring the female Frogs to the breeding pond.

    21 Mar 2022 07:57:00

  • John:

    Wonderful article. I made a small pond just last year and waS frequently visited by mature frogs within a couple of months. I’m delighted to see just this week a bunch of frogspawn in the pond. Looking forward to watching them develop,)))

    22 Mar 2022 17:45:00

  • Andrew Coleman:

    Thanks for the article. Our pond is in a shady spot at the moment so I’m going to transfer the spawn into a shallow bucket with pond water and put it in the sun until later in the year when the pond gets the sun. I bought some indigenous weed last year and snails have gone bonkers. Can you have too many snails?

    ANSWER There are several different species of pond snails but most are scavengers, feeding on algae, plants and detritus, so they help maintain a healthy pond ecosystem and are also food for frogs, birds and other wildlife. But as with all things, balance is key and too many snails may deplete the plant life in a small or sparsely-vegetated pond. You’ll usually find a natural balance is struck and, even though snails can reproduce quite rapidly, their numbers are ultimately limited by their food supply. If you haven’t noticed any particular problems, snail levels are probably fine.

    26 Mar 2022 16:32:00

  • Bill stothart:

    How can a frog lay so much frogspawn? My frogspawn clumps seem to be much larger than the frog they come from?.??

    ANSWER Freshly laid eggs are small and compact, like tiny beads, but as soon as they enter the pond they start soaking up water until they swell up to their full size.

    08 Apr 2022 20:02:00

  • Kath:
    What’s your news?

    22 Apr 2022 10:31:00

  • Judith Rea:

    I put a net over my garden pond to reduce the number of leaves falling into it. Today I noticed some frog spawn on top of the net. Should I wait until the tadpoles emerge before moving the net off the pond? The same thing happened a year or two ago and I moved the net, but the tadpoles didn’t flourish that year.

    03 Mar 2023 14:26:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    If the net is currently submerged, so that the frog spawn is comfortably underwater, then I would say that it is best to leave it until the tadpoles have hatched, after which it should be fine to remove the net. In order to develop, spawn needs some sun and warmth, but not so much that it dries out, as well as oxygen. The net will be preventing the spawn from sinking, which it is liable to do if it is not attached to something and can cause it to fail. If the spawn is in direct sunlight for most of the day, then it may need to be moved to a shadier patch, but care must be taken to ensure that it does not sink.

  • Catharine:

    I have frog spawn in my pond and now l have immature frogs all over it what are they doing?

    10 Mar 2023 12:47:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    Frogs naturally gather in breeding ponds at this time of year and activity can get very frenzied. It’s unlikely they are deliberately interacting with the spawn but they may be interested in any females present, and depending on their size they may be mature males (which are naturally smaller than the females).

  • Lesley Wood:

    My frogspawn is about 8-12 inches down from the surface of my pond whereas normally it is much closer to the surface. Should I move it higher?

    10 Mar 2023 16:05:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    Unless it’s laid onto pond plants, frogspawn does sink when first laid and gradually floats up to the surface as the eggs expand with water. If this is where the frogs chose to spawn, it is best to leave it be. Spawn can be repositioned if it does somehow fall into deeper water, or if the water level rises post-spawning (e.g. due to heavy rain) but from what you’ve described, this isn’t overly deep and it should be fine if it gets plenty of sunlight

  • michael:

    Lovely article.
    I had lots of Frogspawn on a shallow shelf in my pond from around Feb 17th. Now, new frogspawn has appeared and the old spawn has disappeared. I think the new mating frogs may have kicked it off the shelf into deeper water (around 60cm).
    Should I try and retrieve the spawn in deep water or leave it alone? There is a fair bit of muck at the bottom of the pond if that has any bearing

    13 Mar 2023 14:24:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    It’s possible the first batch has hatched by now, or started to, or perhaps been predated but it might have been kicked into deeper water. If it has sunk and can’t be seen, it probably doesn’t have enough light so could be gently moved back into shallower water to have the best chance of developing.

  • Jenny Jones:

    I have frog spawn in a bowl that was in my garden. With the ones that survive to adulthood, what can I do? I have a small enclosed garden with no pond and no way to construct one. I also have 3 dogs. Where can I move them too ?

    15 Mar 2023 15:30:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    Froglets naturally leave the pond when they have completed metamorphosis, and will live on land for 1-2 years before returning to the water to breed at maturity. They don't need access to a pond, so it's fine to release them into a well-vegetated area of the garden and important to do so as soon as they are fully developed, so that they can find appropriate food. Keep areas of long grass and plenty of plant cover so that you have a suitable release site where they can shelter from the sun and predators, and find a safe place to rest and hunt for food. When rearing spawn / tadpoles in a bowl like this, you will need to provide food and there's more information on how to do this here: https://sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/news/rearing-tadpoles

  • LYN POVEY:

    Only one frog and a tiny amount of frog spawn so far this year (21/03/23). Usually get loads and loads, but not so far this year. Is it too cold? Will I get some more when it warms up? I do hope so! Got lots of newts though

    21 Mar 2023 11:23:00

  • Pamela Gaull:

    Hi, after a spell of snow there seemed to be patches of slow melting ice in between each of a row of lavenders in my garden. My garden is all granite chips. After a few days when I felt the clumps of ice should have melted I looked closely and they looked like jelly fish so I felt in among this jelly like substance which was also like cuboid/hexagon crystals similar to how the onside of a flood sack is when it gets wet. Slowly the clumps have just soaked away into the granite chips.
    There is a little garden pond nest door so this could be from frogs. But no eggs in the jelly. Would a frog lay eggs in such a clearly defined row between lavenders and nowhere else. Thanks. I live in Banchory Aberdeenshire but away from a river.
    The clumps changed from white to clear and have begun soaking into to little granite chips.

    27 Mar 2023 08:05:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    Sounds like an interesting find! If there are no little black dots within the jelly, it won’t be frog spawn, as the black portion is the developing tadpole. Frogs will almost always lay their eggs in a pond or a puddle, unless there is no suitable water nearby.

    I have two theories for what this might be. The first is that it could be slug eggs. Slug eggs are gelatinous balls that stick together with a kind of slime, and they can be either white or transparent, or a combination thereof. My other idea is that it is water retaining gel. This comes in the form of granules and balls, and is sometimes put into compost to store water and release it over time. This would explain why the balls seem to be dissolving into the granite, as they are losing water. It probably wouldn’t be found in bags of granite chips, but they could have made their way over from plant beds, or could be leftover from past use.

     Andy Fry, WildCall Officer


  • Samantha Read:

    I have tadpoles in my pond but didn`t have any spawn on top of the surface like I normally do, could they be toads or can frogs spawn below the water level?

    28 Mar 2023 09:19:00

  • Lynda:

    I have a small “pond” made from a plastic container, stones etc and have frogspawn for the first time this year. There is one quite large clump but half is in the water and half on a stone. Should I slide it all into the water?

    06 Apr 2023 19:09:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    Yes, gently push spawn into the pond

  • Pamela Gaull:

    Hi, after a spell of snow there seemed to be patches of slow melting ice in between each of a row of lavenders in my garden. My garden is all granite chips. After a few days when I felt the clumps of ice should have melted I looked closely and they looked like jelly fish so I felt in among this jelly like substance which was also like cuboid/hexagon crystals similar to how the onside of a flood sack is when it gets wet. Slowly the clumps have just soaked away into the granite chips.
    There is a little garden pond nest door so this could be from frogs. But no eggs in the jelly. Would a frog lay eggs in such a clearly defined row between lavenders and nowhere else. Thanks. I live in Banchory Aberdeenshire but away from a river.
    The clumps changed from white to clear and have begun soaking into to little granite chips.

    08 Apr 2023 09:54:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    Sounds like it could be unfertilised frog spawn.

  • Pamela Gaull:

    Hi, after a spell of snow there seemed to be patches of slow melting ice in between each of a row of lavenders in my garden. My garden is all granite chips. After a few days when I felt the clumps of ice should have melted I looked closely and they looked like jelly fish so I felt in among this jelly like substance which was also like cuboid/hexagon crystals similar to how the onside of a flood sack is when it gets wet. Slowly the clumps have just soaked away into the granite chips.
    There is a little garden pond nest door so this could be from frogs. But no eggs in the jelly. Would a frog lay eggs in such a clearly defined row between lavenders and nowhere else. Thanks. I live in Banchory Aberdeenshire but away from a river.
    The clumps changed from white to clear and have begun soaking into to little granite chips.

    20 Apr 2023 17:40:00

  • Margaretkcr:

    Novost

    05 Aug 2023 01:36:00

  • Kat:

    I don’t have a pond or any bodies of water in my garden or in the neighbouring gardens yet we have hundreds of baby frogs all over! I can’t work out where they are coming from. Our grass is very damp and doesn’t drain well but not wet enough for spawn to develop. Any ideas!?

    08 Aug 2023 15:29:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    We are now beginning to enter the part of the year that new frogs leave their natal pond. They will now spend the next 18-32 months out of the water, eating, growing, and hibernating before they are ready to mate, at which point they will usually return to their natal pond to breed. While they are out of the water, they can be found in woodlands, hedgerows, and tussocky grasslands, as well as gardens. The froglets in your garden will have come from a pond, or even a puddle, within 500m of your garden, and will be looking for places to rest and feed. Most (if not all) of them are likely to disperse beyond your garden in the coming days and weeks, so long as there is any suitable habitat.

    Andy, WildCall Officer https://sussexwildlifetrust.or...

  • Alison:

    I have netting over my pond. The netting has sunk into the pond. And the frog spawn is had above and half bellow the netting. Fastened through it. What should I do?

    19 Feb 2024 10:34:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    It’s important to keep garden netting taut and secure to avoid wildlife getting trapped or tangled. If it’s possible, make repairs as best you can but if tightening the netting will now raise the spawn out of the water, you may need to wait until the spawn has hatched (usually takes a few weeks). In the meantime, keep a close eye on the netting to make sure nothing’s getting stuck.

  • Joanna Simms:

    My frogspawn was laid nine days ago. When can I expect to see some movement of the tadpoles within the jelly?

    25 Feb 2024 18:23:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    Usually between 1-3 weeks

  • philippa Rhodes:

    I noticed last night in my small bucket ish pond a big clump of spawn popping out of the water. I topped up the bucket with some rain water just ensuring they are covered. But it’s so cold, a bit frosty in the morning..
    Could I cover them a little with maybe cardboard to help them, or I suppose this may hinder the light..

    28 Feb 2024 07:39:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    If the surface of the pond freezes over, frogspawn can be damaged/killed but it’s usually only the eggs on the outer surface that are impacted, unless there is a prolonged, hard freeze. There’s usually no need to intervene. Frogs deliberately lay an excess of eggs to take into account the naturally high mortality rate.

  • Allan Agnew:

    Hi I have a pond full of frogspawn and currently have the frogs as well. Wil the frogs leave eventually or will they die. Is it possible that they are stuck in the pond. The water comes up to the edgse of the grass

    13 Mar 2024 16:02:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    Adult Frogs will leave the pond sometime after spawning. It is possible for Frogs to get stuck in ponds if they are have steep sides, so always a good idea to have stones or a log that Frogs (and other animals) can use to climb out.

  • Rob Batho:

    We’ve had lots of frog spawn in our pond this year. But the first lot disappeared (it was replaced a day later!). What could have devoured the spawn?

    14 Mar 2024 11:22:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    It is possible that birds or aquatic creatures have eaten the spawn. Another option might be heavy rain can dislodge the spawn from its original location, making it appear to have vanished. It might have simply moved to a different part of the pond.

  • Jackie Altan:

    I have lots of frog spawn in my pond but unfortunately I discovered a large frog with a growth on its back. It has disappeared before I could discover if I could help it. Also now my pond has a white froth or foam like substance. Is this a problem for the tadpoles and other wild life. I do not have any fish in the pond as I keep it for wild life.

    14 Mar 2024 11:33:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    Sadly it’s unlikely anything could be done to assist the frog but sick or dead wildlife can be reported via the Garden Wildlife Health website: https://www.gardenwildlifehealth.org/. The white froth is natural, and usually caused by excess proteins. This often happens in spawning areas and it will disperse with time.

  • Wendy Allen:

    I enjoyed hearing about the interaction between newts and frogs

    14 Mar 2024 11:40:00

  • Graham Stebbings:

    Just for info. I have a small wildlife pond with a lot of frogspawn and still found some frogspawn on my lawn about 3 metres from the pond.

    14 Mar 2024 11:55:00

  • George Robb:

    If the puddle is drying up, why not keep it replenished with rain water?

    14 Mar 2024 12:00:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    If the puddle is deep enough that could be an option. Alternatively, you could rear some in a tank or bucket of rainwater, then release the froglets back where you found them. See our guide to rearing tadpoles for more information on how to look after them.

  • Eric Parrish:

    I have a pond – 9ft x 5ft x 3ft deep, established, with plants & waterfall. I would like some frogs or newts. Where can i obtain some spawn – newts/frogs? Eric Parrish and

    14 Mar 2024 12:27:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    We advise against moving spawn between ponds due to the risk of transferring amphibian diseases and invasive plants in the process. The best thing to do is create suitable habitat, and ensure there is good access to it, then wait for frogs and newts to turn up naturally. If they don’t choose to use the pond, there may be a good reason why it isn’t suitable. Frogs tend to prefer shallow water, so 3ft is perhaps overly deep for them. They also prefer still water, so it’s possible the waterfall is creating too much of a flow. Adult frogs live on land for most of the year so they also need areas with long grass and plenty of vegetation where they can shelter and forage, as well as overwintering sites like log piles, stones and slabs where they can hide away safely. Another possibility is frogs are present locally but prefer to use an alternative pond that’s perhaps easier to access or provides better conditions.

  • Philip:

    Hi we have a natural pond in clay soil. It’s about eight year old now ,but still no sign of life other than lots of insects and dragon flies. Is there any way we can legally and sensibly import some? Pond is about 9m by 5m and 0.4m to 0.9m deep. Lots of weed and duck love it! So does the heron but he always departs looking unfulfilled!

    14 Mar 2024 13:32:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    Lots of insects and dragonflies is a great sign of a flourishing pond. It is possibly slightly on the deep side for frogs but you also mention having ducks, and ducks will happily feed on frogspawn and tadpoles. If there are a lot of ducks, it’s likely they are reducing the wildlife value of the pond. Herons will also take frogs, so plenty of plant cover around the pond margins and surrounding area will help frogs shelter from predators and access the pond safely.

  • Jane Massey:

    We’ve had a wildlife pond in the back garden for 2 years now. We saw Newts last year but then they disappeared. We don’t have frogs visiting and I long to see more life there. Any suggestions?

    14 Mar 2024 13:55:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    If there are frogs nearby, they will find a new pond quite quickly – as long as they can access the garden. If it’s too well fenced or lacking the terrestrial habitats that frogs need outside the breeding season, it will be more difficult for them to survive and move safely through the local landscape. Adult frogs live on land for most of the year so they need areas with long grass and plenty of vegetation where they can shelter and forage, as well as overwintering sites like log piles, stones and slabs where they can hide away safely. Another possibility is frogs are present locally but prefer to use an alternative pond that’s perhaps easier to access or provides better conditions.

  • S. Franklyn:

    Some years ago we had a very late cold spell and I noticed our pond was beginning to freeze. I scooped out the frog spawn into a large bucket with some of the pond water and kept them in the garage returning them when the weather warmed. They survived fine.

    14 Mar 2024 14:00:00

  • Teresa Smith:

    Thank you. Very helpful tadpole advice

    14 Mar 2024 14:09:00

  • Pete:

    Last year hundreds of tadpoles disappeared from my pond over about a 48hr period. Newts, fish and invertebrates continued to flourish. What could have caused this? Predation is possible, but unlikely as the other wildlife had previously shown little interest in the tadpoles, and the sheer numbers that went missing so quickly. Die-off due to pollution is also unlikely as nothing else seems to have been affected, and there was no evidence of dead tadpoles. Any suggestions?

    14 Mar 2024 14:39:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    If they were definitely gone, and not just hiding, then predation is most likely. Both newts and fish will eat tadpoles, and fish can be particularly voracious. Birds will also take tadpoles, especially if there isn’t anywhere in the pond they can safely retreat to e.g. rocks, vegetation, deeper water away from the edges.

  • Elaine Brace:

    I live up 2 sets of steps, and my house backs onto a lane what are the chances of getting frogs/spawn in a small pond in my garden!!

    14 Mar 2024 15:51:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    They’re less likely to climb steps but frogs can jump, so it’s not impossible – it probably depends on how many steps and how steep they are. If the lane backs onto suitable habitat, frogs are more likely to access the garden from the back. But a lot depends on what’s surrounding the house, as well as access to the garden. If there are frogs nearby, they’ll probably find a way. Even if frogs don’t arrive, the pond will be teeming with other wildlife from water beetles to dragonflies.

  • Roger Musselle:

    what has happened to the frogs this year . as yet we have no sign of spawn. and we normally have plenty. also no sign of frogs!

    14 Mar 2024 15:57:00

  • Helen Fox:

    I dug my pond 27 years ago and did import spawn from a friend. I put it on top of the two pond plants I have, which are just submerged. I’ve had spawn every year since. I leave a lot of wood debris and heaps of prunings round the perimeter of my small garden, under plants. Last year, in spring, I went to spread one heap to find hundreds of baby frogs hibernating successfully. One winter the pond was frozen over with thick ice for about 10 days and many adults died, floating to the surface when it melted. I was unable to keep part of the surface clear. I supposed there was insufficient oxygen, or is it possible they can freeze?
    I believe tadpoles are herbivorous for about 12 weeks, so need pond weed, and then become carnivorous. Wheat germ sounds much easier than hanging pieces of mince on cotton, as I did with my children when they were young! As for who eats tadpoles, blackbirds are very good at fishing for them!

    14 Mar 2024 16:31:00

  • Glyn Evans:

    We have a small pond that is now 4 yeas + old . It has flourishing plants but no sign whatever of any creatures frogs, toads or water insects etc. one or two frogs have been seen near the pond but never in it.
    Can you offer any help?

    14 Mar 2024 17:16:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    If there are frogs nearby, they will find a pond – as long as they can access the garden. If it’s too well fenced or lacking the terrestrial habitats that frogs need outside the breeding season, it will be more difficult for them to survive and move safely through the local landscape. Adult frogs and other amphibians live on land for most of the year so they need areas with long grass and plenty of vegetation where they can shelter and forage, as well as overwintering sites like log piles, stones and slabs where they can hide away safely. 

  • Gillian Doherty:

    Thank you for this really helpful info. We have had a wildlife pond for 40years and always lucky with frog and toad spawn and this year is no exception. However, we have a dilema. Unfortunately we are moving later in the year and the purchases of our home are going to pave over our pond as they have small children (despite us explaining that one shouldn’t exclude the other!). I know you should not move spawn, but would we be better transferring it to a neighbour’s pond (4 doors away) than letting it hatch out, and this years froglets/toadlets returning next spring to find no pond and maybe not a very wildlife friendly garden.

    14 Mar 2024 19:49:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    It’s a shame to hear that the new owners intend to remove the pond, especially one so long-established and clearly of great value to local wildlife. Ponds have declined hugely in recent years, so we would always encourage them to be kept wherever possible, and you’ve clearly done your best to encourage this but understandably the decision is out of your hands. If the new owners intend to drain the pond immediately, it might be best to move the spawn to an alternative pond before it hatches, and it’s lucky there’s one close by. We usually advise against moving spawn but the associated risks are lessened if it is moving over such a short distance, as long as the pond you’re taking it is equally suitable. It actually takes several years for froglets and toadlets to mature into adults, so this year’s young will not be ready to breed for a while yet. Frogs are less faithful to their natal ponds than toads and very good at finding water, so will hopefully find a suitable alternative in future years. There may be some confused toads turning up next year but again, they will hopefully relocate as long as they can easily travel between gardens. You might be able to make some small amphibian ‘highways’ under the fences as a parting gift before you move.

  • Maureen Barton:

    Just seen frogspawn in my garden pond today. Hope it survives as I have goldfish in there!

    14 Mar 2024 21:16:00

  • Frances:

    Timely and very interesting.
    In a new unestablished pond, there’s nothing for tadpoles to eat. Will they be cannibals?
    Will all the froglets be out of the pond by June?

    14 Mar 2024 23:00:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    Froglets should leave the pond in June / July, although this can vary depending on local conditions. Even in a new pond tadpoles will find things to eat, such as algae or microscopic organisms. You could always add some native pond plants, if they aren't there already. More info here.

  • Debbie Lansdown:

    Great article 🙂

    15 Mar 2024 06:40:00

  • Wayne Upton:

    A number of years ago we created a shallow pond in a wet meadow. In dry years the pond dries out in late summer, which makes it ideal for frogs and toads as there is a lack of preditors for developing tadpoles, both frog and toads use the pond. The field is on a flood plane to the Ouse and in wet years water lies in the field when they come to spawn. If one gets caught short on the way to the pond, it can spawns in the field, with others joining in! My record before this year was 66 gallons of spawn transfered to the pond, but this year there was 78 gallons . Great to see them doing so well.

    15 Mar 2024 11:10:00

  • Debbie Lansdown:

    Great article 🙂

    15 Mar 2024 14:28:00

  • John Auric:

    I have a small pond [100 × 50 × 50cms]and it was full of spawn. There are four shubunkin fish too – so would some of the spawn survi ve ?

    15 Mar 2024 18:29:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    It’s likely the fish will eat at least some of the tadpoles, depending on the size of the fish and how much other food is available. They may not eat all of them, and may not eat them once they exceed a certain size. Generally it’s best not to have fish in a wildlife pond.

  • Alan Bell:

    For the last 3 years I haven’t had any frogspawn prior to that it appeared every year. I do have some newts in the pond but they haven’t been a problem in the past. Is there an increasing problem with frogs in the Worthing area.

    15 Mar 2024 20:35:00

  • Alan Walker:

    I found this really useful. I have a small pond which I created some three years ago lined with butal (?) liner. It is about a foot at deepest. I bought in weeds from a specialist nursery. I did come across a dragonfly nymph a year back when thinning the weed. Other than that nothing seems to want to live on it!! It is not shaded much of the day. It has had plenty of rain in winter and I have topped it up from the water butt when it lost water.

    16 Mar 2024 16:20:00

  • Sarah Noble:

    I have found clumps of frog spawn in the grass surrounding my pond. There are ducks that sometimes land on the pond , do they pull it out?
    Also we have a lot of toad spawn but not very much frog spawn, what eats frog spawn?

    23 Mar 2024 23:37:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    Lots of different species will eat Frog spawn, including fish, birds (ducks, heron etc), insects such as dragonfly larvae and newts

  • Jane:

    Hi I have a frog and lots of spawn in the soil at the side of my garden, we have 6 cats next door but one and I am worried they will get them, any ideas? We seem to get frogs every year, but this is the first time I have seen spawn.

    26 Mar 2024 10:37:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    Cats can catch Frogs, so it is important that you have places for them to hide when they are out of the pond, this could be areas of long vegetation or a log pile for example 

  • Andy Davis:

    Why do tadpoles congregate at the edge of the ponds especially in sunny weather. Is a due to a reduction in oxygen levels?

    30 Mar 2024 12:01:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    Tadpoles are cold-blooded. This means their body temperature depends on the surrounding environment. In cooler weather, they need to stay in warmer areas to regulate their body temperature for optimal growth and development. The shallow edges of ponds often have more algae, plankton, and other microscopic organisms that tadpoles feed on.

  • Jean Anne matheson:

    I have had my wildlife pond for 5 years now and no frog spawn although I have had frogs or toads behind my greenhouse, Q/ why

    31 Mar 2024 18:05:00

  • Helen Bennington:

    I have just found the biggest clump of frog spawn on my decking. Is this normal? I have no pond but do encounter the odd frog or two in my garden. My friend is taking to her dads pond

    31 Mar 2024 23:10:15

  • Maria Taylor:

    Thank you for a great website!

    I rescued some frogspawn from a drying up small puddle in Oxfordshire and now they are small froglets climbing the tank walls. Is it okay to release them as early as this please as I am worried there are not enough insects for them to eat?

    07 Apr 2024 17:48:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    Yes, best to release ASAP somewhere quiet, away from cats and with plenty of plant cover so that they can find suitable food and shelter.

  • MR DEAN BROOKES:

    This year. our frog spawn floated for a while in our pond but has now sunk.

    Is there a reason for this and does it mean that it has failed?

    Thanks

    19 Apr 2024 11:46:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    It could be that the spawn was not fertilised. This often results in the spawn turning cloudy in colour and sinking to the bottom of the pond.