Rana temporaria Common frog

Make a hibernaculum for frogs

Create a cosy hibernaculum for hibernating frogs using recycled items from around the garden.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
At its best
At its best

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is not at its best in June

Plant is not at its best in July

Plant is not at its best in August

Plant is not at its best in September

Plant is not at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is at its best in December

To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

While male frogs head to the depths of the pond to spend winter, females and juveniles seek out damp areas. Create the perfect winter digs for them in autumn, 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.

Watch our Quick Tips video guide to attracting frogs to your pond.

Here’s how to make a frog hibernaculum.

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You Will Need

  • Old growing bag
  • Grass clippings or soft plant prunings
  • Autumn leaves
  • Tree or shrub prunings
  • Garden spade

Total time:

Step 1

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.

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Step 2

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.

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Step 3

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 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.

Kate Bradbury