Common frog

©Guy Edwardes/2020VISION

Common frog

Scientific name: Rana temporaria
Our most well-known amphibian, the Common Frog is a regular visitor to garden ponds across the country, helping to clear out pesky slugs and snails. In winter, they hibernate in pond mud or under log piles.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 8-13cm
Weight: 22g
Average lifespan: 5-10 years

Conservation status

Common. Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981

When to see

February to October

About

Common frogs are amphibians, breeding in ponds during the spring and spending much of the rest of the year feeding in woodland, gardens, hedgerows and tussocky grassland. They are familiar inhabitants of garden ponds, where they lay their eggs in big 'rafts' of spawn. They feed on a variety of invertebrates and even smaller amphibians.

How to identify

The common frog varies in colour enormously, from green to brown and even red or yellow. It has smooth skin, a dark 'mask' behind the eye and long back legs, covered in dark bands. It hops and jumps rather than walks, and lays spawn in large jelly-like clumps.

Distribution

Found throughout the country, except for some Scottish islands, some of the Isles of Scilly and the Channel Islands.

Did you know?

Male common frogs have 'nuptial pads' on their front feet to help them grip on to females during the breeding season. The male frog will wrap itself around the female and fertilise her eggs as they are produced; a female frog may lay up to 4,000 eggs in one spring! Frogs can spawn as early as December or as late as April depending on the weather. After hatching, tadpoles take about 14 weeks to metamorphise into froglets.

How people can help

Whether you live in town or country, you can help to look after garden wildlife by providing food, water and shelter. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started. To buy bird and animal food, feeders and homes, visit the Vine House Farm website - an award-winning wildlife-friendly farm which gives 5% of all its takings to The Wildlife Trusts. To encourage frogs and other amphibians into your garden, try having a wildlife-friendly pond and leaving piles of logs for hibernating animals.