Finally, the frogs have decided they can wait no longer and have laid frog spawn in our pond.
The Winter has been so long and so cold and they have stayed in their Winter quarters for protection.
You can create a special home called a hibernaculum for them to help them survive a cold Winter.
Build a hibernaculum in a sheltered, quiet corner of the garden:
- Dig a hole 60cm (2ft) deep and at least a metre (4ft) across.
- Fill it with loosely laid twigs, branches, stones and rocks and add plenty of tunnels using pieces of drainpipe from ground level pointing into different areas of the hole.
- Cover the branches and stones etc with grass cuttings and old turfs and top off with soil and Autumn leaves to make a mound about half a metre high so that all you can see are the tunnel (drainpipe) entrances on the outside of the mound.
- Frogs, toads or newts may all use this as a place of Winter safety.
But the frogs have now left their Winter quarters and we have 8 jelly lumps of spawn each the size of a tennis ball in our pond and we hope that some of the eggs have survived the latest cold spell.
So, that means 8 adult females visited us this year as each female lays only one batch of spawn in a season. If this has been spoiled by the cold that is a season with fewer offspring. Some should survive as it would have been protected in the centre of the clump or under the ice level in the pond.
The eggs will take about 3 weeks to hatch into brown tadpoles which will stay in the shallow area of the pond where they were laid. Tadpoles need rafting plants that grow out across the water surface to hide under as they are vulnerable to the birds that also visit the pond.
This should enable them to get strong enough to leave the pond later in the Summer and find shelter in their homes nearby.
To help frogs spawn successfully in your pond: