Rana temporaria

Make a hibernaculum for frogs

Do it:

Oct

Takes just:

30 minutes

At its best:

Dec

While male frogs head to the depths of the pond to spend winter, females and juveniles seek out damp quarters. Create the perfect winter digs now, using an old growing bag, grass clippings and autumn leaves. The bag retains moisture to keep frogs' skins moist, while leaves and clippings insulate them from frost.

You will need

An old growing bag

Grass clippings or soft plant prunings

Autumn leaves

Tree or shrub prunings

Spade

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Choose a sheltered spot that won't be disturbed. Dig a shallow trench the same size as the old growing bag. Lay the bag in the trench and gently firm the compost.

Cover the bag with grass clippings or plant prunings, ensuring no unsightly edges of the bag are on view. Frogs love to squeeze into tight spaces, so pack the clippings down. 

Spread a thick layer of leaves over the top. If you've chosen a windy spot, add some twigs to hold the leaves in place. Leave the hibernaculum undisturbed until April. 

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Kate Bradbury

Kate Bradbury says

Male frogs may also hibernate in the bottom of your pond, hiding in the mud. They can breathe through their skin, but if the pond freezes over noxious gasses, caused by decaying plant material, can become trapped in the water and poison the frogs. Remove decaying plant material from your pond in autumn, and float a tennis ball on the surface in winter, to stop it completely freezing over.

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