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Frogs, frogspawn, slugs and cats


by Jekka McVicar

We have recently been greatly entertained by the cacophony of frogs as they splash about in the ditch and ponds.


Male frog with head above surface of waterWe have recently been greatly entertained by the cacophony of frogs as they splash about in the ditch and ponds. The loud croaking is the male frog calling for a mate or possibly warning other males away from his territory.

Later on that same day when I was walking around the farm I found a huge clump of frogspawn in a fast-drying section of the pond, so we lifted it and moved it to a ditch near by which was partially shaded with a good supply of fresh water. This is important as it can take anything from 6-12 weeks for the spawn to develop into a tadpole and then into a frog. Interestingly, when we returned to check that the spawn had settled in, other frogs had laid their eggs near by. This is a very good sign as it means that the transposed spawn will be well looked after.

Hand reaching into a bowl of frogspawnHaving been on this site for over twenty years and because we have always been organic, we have a large population of frogs and toads on the farm. They overwinter, not only in the ditches, but also in the polytunnels hiding under the pots. Later in the season the baby frogs come to the tunnels and can give one quite a jump when we are moving plants as they leap out. Frogs and toads are very important as they keep a number of pests under control including the notorious slugs.

Basil the cat sitting on a postThe farm rodent operatives have also been very busy since the arrival of the warmer weather. There are three cats on the farm, Borage, Basil and his sister Myrtle. Basil (pictured) is a buffoon, but when he eventually does catch something he is immensely proud. Because there are so many rodents available on the farm, I am pleased to say that the cats rarely attack or catch the birds. Which is a very good thing as we have two blackbirds, Denise and Deirdre, that have taken up residence in the stock tunnel. They've become so fat eating all the myrtle berries that they now have difficulty in flying.



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Gardeners' World Web User 05/03/2008 at 09:23

We also have lots of frogs in our garden & spring traffic is very busy in our pond. We had to make a smaller pond for the frog spawn as our fish were eating all the tadpoles. Sadly however, this year I have found two dead frogs in my garden, with no visable injuries from cats etc I am concerned it could be something worse, like a disease. I hope not, as I have been looking after the tadpoles over the past few years to build up an army of frogs to eat the army of slugs we have in our garden.

Gardeners' World Web User 05/03/2008 at 09:23

We also have lots of frogs in our garden & spring traffic is very busy in our pond. We had to make a smaller pond for the frog spawn as our fish were eating all the tadpoles. Sadly however, this year I have found two dead frogs in my garden, with no visible injuries from cats etc I am concerned it could be something worse, like a disease. I hope not, as I have been looking after the tadpoles over the past few years to build up an army of frogs to eat the army of slugs we have in our garden.

Gardeners' World Web User 05/03/2008 at 13:16

i also have a pond in my garden with lots of frogs and toads in it i also have a small waterfall in the pond so that help to circulate the water keeping it fresh i dont know if this is unusual but last year i noticed a white frog in my garden i also get surprised by the fact that so many people are afraid of these harmless creatures more so woman

Gardeners' World Web User 06/03/2008 at 12:42

Its a funny year here in East Cornwall. My garden helper had frog spawn in her pond before Christmas! My pond normally seethes with frogs and croaks in late January/early February but this year nothing. Admittedly it was difficult to see water for pond weed at that time! Now having cleared that we have suddenly had a small number of frogs in late February and two largish clumps of spawn. Since we learn that frogs return to their spawning ground and last year we exported a large number of froglets I wonder if the frogs took one look at our weeds and opted for somewhere else - any suggestions?

Gardeners' World Web User 06/03/2008 at 19:18

I've just got a cat. Can anyone tell me if they go for frogs as we have loads in our pond!

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