By Charlotte Owen
Every year, WildCall gets lots of phone calls from people worried about the frog spawn and tadpoles in their ponds. Here are your top five spawn questions:
1. What type of spawn do I have?
Frog spawn is always laid in big clumps whilst toad spawn comes in long chains like a string of pearls draped over pond weed and submerged plants.
2. I'm worried that I've got too much frog spawn in my pond.
As long as you haven't introduced additional frogs into your pond, there is no such thing as too much frog spawn. Unfortunately it's a tough life for a tadpole, they have a number of natural predators and are susceptible to various amphibian diseases. Female frogs lay thousands of egg 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, 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 light and a lot of warmth to develop properly, so shady ponds are not good for spawn.
4. Should I move the spawn into a separate pond?
I never recommend moving spawn or tadpoles between ponds as this can spread non-native plant species and amphibian diseases. Ponds may contain a big black mass of writhing tadpoles, but this is how it is meant to be. Just kick 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 tadpoles, so ponds with lots of newts tend to have fewer frogs. However, the decrease in frogs can lead to fewer newts, leading to more frogs in following years and so on. It may be that your pond is just more suitable for newts rather than frogs. This isn't a bad thing, newt habitat is just as valuable as frog habitat.
Still not sure? WildCall is here to help! Ask a question by phoning WildCall on 01273 494777 (9.30 am to 1 pm weekdays) or use our contact form.