So the Common Frog (Rana temporaria),
Possibly our most familiar amphibian, the Common Frog is distributed throughout Britain and Ireland and can be found in almost any habitat where suitable breeding ponds can be found. Garden ponds are now extremely important for Common Frogs and many populations in suburban areas depend on them. Any pond large or small make a massive difference to wildlife, not just amphibian but the full ecosystem.
Adults can grow to almost 8cm and are generally some shade of brown or olive brown in colour with a dark patch behind the eye and bands of darker colour on the back legs. Most individuals have irregular black markings on the back and two narrow lighter stripes running along each side of the back. Coloration is extremely variable and in recent years yellow, pink and orange individuals have been reported.
The life cycle of the Common Frog is familiar to most people; spawning takes place on average in March (get checking your local ponds), the tadpoles develop throughout the summer and emerge as froglets in wet weather in August or September. Well-grown tadpoles are faintly speckled with gold which distinguishes them easily from the black tadpoles of the Common Toad. Common Frogs feed on a variety of invertebrate prey which is mostly caught at night. The frog’s skin is smooth and needs to be moist at all times which limits this species to habitats close to fresh water or habitats that remain damp throughout the summer.
Some more general facts.........
- In Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Common Frog is protected only in as much as sale and trade in any form is prohibited.
- Frog bones form a growth ring every year when the frog is hibernating. Scientists can count these rings to discover the age of the frog.
- Frogs lay up to 4,000 eggs at one time. The jelly around the eggs helps to keep them warm. The temperature inside a clump of eggs is often much higher than the temperature of the pond water around them.
- Amphibians must shed their skin as they enlarge in size. The old skin is discarded like a piece of clothing that has become too tight (I know the feeling!!). Usually the shed skin is eaten.
- Frogs absorb water through their skin so they don't need to drink.
- Frogs use a variety of ways to attract a mate such as courtship calls, body colour and limb movements.