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I had masses of frog spawn this year,and can usually see 9+ at a time although there are many of them....I have seen two newts today swimming around among the tad poles...A lot of my fish have dissapeared and i'v found some dead, since last year this may be due to the colder winter....Or has it got something to do with the other visitors in my pond.
When is the best time to start to build a wildlife pond? I do not want any fish in the pond, just frogs and newts. I have been told that once you have built the pond, the wildlife will find it. Is this true, or should I get some frogspawn from my friend's pond when it becomes available?
Reply to ffbumblebee The best time to build a pond is in late autumn after rains have helped rehydrate the soil. This is nothing to do with wildlife, but makes it easier to dig. Wildlife will find its own way fast enough, often water skaters, dragonflies, damsels arriving as the water is going in. There are often worries about introducing spawn from other ponds because they may be carrying disease, but I suspect that if you can get spawn from a relatively close neighbour and put it into a virgin pond you can;t be doing too much damage.
In the 1990s my small pond was home to dozens of frogs but now I'm lucky if I see more than two at a time. The most I see is at breeding time when there might be as many as 10. Every now and again I have to remove a dead frog found floating in the pond. They usually appear to be undamaged and I am beginning to wonder if they could be poisoned. I use a few slug pellets which are supposed to be harmless to wildlife, pets, etc. A large fern overhangs the pond and I think has invaded the water. Could it poison the water? It looks like Polystichum setiferum 'Proliferum' but I can't be sure of its identity. Are any plants poisonous to our native frogs?
I forgot to mention that the water in my pond (which is approx 5' x 5') is crystal clear, though there is a lot of sludge in it. Water lillies and yellow flag iris grow in the pond together with an oxygenater.


Reply to Woolstonian Frogs really only come to water to mate or over-winter so numbers fluctuate naturally. Your Dead frogs may be diseased. Redleg is the usual culprit, it causes subcutaneous bleeding to make the limbs look red. I'm not sure of any cure or prevention.
Many thanks, Richard Jones, for your response. I had considered the dreaded red leg but could see no evidence of it on the last two dead frogs I found floating in the pond. That's why I'm wondering if they are being poisoned in some way. Do you know if the supposedly environmentally friendly slug pellets could do this? I realize that the frog population nationally has declined over recent years.
Update More tiny newtlets revealed by clearing up the garden last weekend, and one seen swimming in the pond. Reply to Woolstonian I don't know anything about slug pellet toxins and have not come across any mention of concerns. Who knows?
I have had 'common' newts in my garden since came to live here 15 yrs ago. The prev owner told me their newts were the rare crested newts but I have only seen darkish greenish newts with no crest at any time of the year. I read online that newts get out of the pond during winter and hibernate under debris in the garden and warnings not to rake up or remove old foliage lying in the garden until sure spring is surely here. I did find one newt in such a place and felt very guilty about clearing up the garden in the hope of seeing crocuses etc I had planted the prev year but was covered with old foliage from plants from the year before. Note to self to remove all this in the autumn so can see my crocuses the next spring? The is also a gold fish in the pond, its actually a cream colour. There is no heater in the pond and I wasnt very good last autumn clearing out the dead leaves as they fell due to having an illness that prevented my going into the garden much. Now I find the goldfish,'old Whitey' he is called and been in the pond as long as I have lived here - he hasnt looked too good these past few weeks and very lethargic. He's been huddled up behind a container of oxiginater plants and I noticed today he was wandering about a little but had several patches along his body of red colour looking very sore. i also read online to remove all the bottome debris and any leaves as these cause ammonia burns which are read, so I rushed out to remove all the debris and on tipping very muddy look sludge out onto the surrounding soil discovered baby newts struggling around in it, my having scooped them up out of the pond also. I at once picked up the sludge with the newts in and dropped them back into the pool. So now I feel guilty about the fish and the newts as I wasnt aware baby newts were living in the pond over the cold winter months. Its not a big pond about 5ft long x 3ft wide adt one end and widens out towards the end to about 3ft 10inches. The depth is very shallow as the person who made it must have filled it before the foundation set and it dips at one end leaving the other high and dry and only having around 1 ft of water. The deeper end and the wider end is a bit deeper at 15inchs so I feel very sorry for the fish in the winter and cover the pond with a plastic sheet and a fence panel to keep out the worst of the cold - I hope. I want to know what to do about the sludge containing the newts and other strange looking creatures like woodlice only with more like a sort of shrimps legs and the welfare of the fish. I dont want to kill off any of them. Please advise the best thing to do.
Reply to MaggiAnni As you've had newts for 15 years I wouldn't do anything too drastic to your pond, leave it as is. Dredge out any dropped leaves before they sink and decay, but don't worry too much about the sludge. The woodlice-like creatures are water hog-lice, closely related, but have remained aquatic, rather than become terrestrial like woodlice.
I loved your picture of the newt. I netted out about 20 newts from my garden pond in Newport today. I also had the pleasure of transporting about 50 frogs to another pond in the garden whilst I removed some of the sludge from the bottom of the pond. As to the naming of the newts I believe that a baby newt is called an Eft but I just call him Tiny, because he's minute! ...tee hee
On finding a newt whilst weeding I put it in the palm of my hand and showed it to my four year old niece, she took one look and exclaimed "Oh, it's a baby dinosaur" I have to agree there is an uncanny resemblance. I haven't seen any frog spawn yet but I've heard the little critters croaking repeatedly! Maybe they are holding back because they know something about the weather that we don't.

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