One of the big wildlife events of the year in the ponds and ditches is the arrival of common frogs, following their winter hibernation. Frogs spend most of their life on land, but when they awaken from hibernation they feed and then head off to the pond and ditches to mate. The frogs feed using their long sticky tongue and can only feed on land.

Frogs can crawl on all four legs or use their large hind legs to leap. The powerful legs and webbed back feet are also perfect for swimming.

Only the male frogs can produce the soft croak in the hope of attracting a female. The call is produced by inflating the throat with air, and exhaling. Frog wrestling often takes place when there are lots of frogs in the water and eventually a male will pair with a female and protect her from the advances of other males.

Identifying common frogs can sometimes be confusing as not all common frogs are the same colour. In fact they can range from brownish – green, to sandy coloured, red or even black.

d3 Common frog colour varieties

Males and females common frogs look the same but there are a few clues you can look for. The female common frogs are often a bit larger than the male and the female has a darker throat, while the male’s throat is often white.

d4 Male and female common frog

The front feet of a male frog have a special swelling, like a soft pad, that helps the male to hold onto the female frog

A female common frog may lay between 1000 and 2000 eggs with a clump we call frogspawn. Common frogs prefer to lay their eggs on the shallow edges of a pond. The frogs only remain in the ponds and ditches until spawning has finished then they leave the water and spend most of their time on land.

Most frogs will now have returned to ponds and laid their frog spawn. Please leave a comment and join in the discussion on this post and tell us if you have a school pond. Is it visited by frogs, toads or newts and have you seen frog spawn this year? When did you first notice the frog spawn?