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Could we do More to Help Our Frogs?

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 16 Feb 2021 | comments*Discuss
Could We Do More To Help Our Frogs?

Q.For many years I have had two ponds in my back garden and the fish have bred very successfuly; however, out of the many frogs we have, three have died in the last three weeks and have been floating on the top of the pond. Can you please tell me how long they can live for? We have landing pads for them to get in and out. Could we do more?

(Mr Alan Burgon, 26 September 2008)


Frogs can live to be more than six years old and it could well be that they have simply died of old age. Also, female frogs can occasionally be drowned or die from sheer exhaustion due to the frenetic activity of the breeding season. Of course, they may simply have fallen victim to predation by the likes of kestrels, owls or weasels which naturally forms part of the food chain although if they appear unmarked, it’s unlikely that this will have been the cause. However, if only three have died and the rest of the frog population is flourishing, there is unlikely to be anything wrong with the pond conditions. You have ensured that they can easily get in and out of the pond so it appears that you are creating the right conditions.

Ponds should generally be situated in a sunny location and away from any overhanging branches from trees. And, although frogs don’t have a specific need for certain types of plant species, a good mixture of aquatic vegetation makes for a good all-round ecosystem in the pond. Also, ensure that the pond does not have any steep sides or sides that get very hot, or are highly acidic or alkaline as this can cause young frogs in particular to fall back in and drown.

More recently, scientific research has discovered a virus called the ‘ranavirus’ but more commonly termed ‘redleg’ which has been hitting many frog populations. It basically causes blistering, redness and ulceration of the limbs and it can mean a slow and lingering death for the frogs as it eventually causes their limbs to fall off and ultimately results in their death. However, if the dead frogs you’ve experienced seem intact and all of the other frogs are healthy in addition to the fish breeding well, then it is more likely the case that the frogs have died of old age.

However, if you’re still concerned and you think there’s been something unusual going on which may have resulted in their death, you could contact the Frog Mortality Project on 01733 558444 and another useful organisation is Froglife which has its own website.

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We used to have around 12 rogs in our garden but over the last 5 years, teir numbers have reduced to 2-4. The quantity of frog spawn has reduced proprionately. Is there anything we can do to halt this decline?
Gareth - 16-Feb-21 @ 12:31 PM
Hi, I have had a toad in my pond for a while now in late August, is this normal? ty
Al - 29-Aug-15 @ 3:02 PM
Hi I have a small but deep pond in my garden near an old apple tree. I have left that corner of the garden to grow and now the grass is long.I have put a pile of logs from a tree i cut down a few feet away. All looks well and i have newts and frogs and toads and boatmen. My question is that at the bottom of the pond there is a lot of muck from where the previous owner kept geese. Should i clean out this muck or leave it? Is there anything else i can do to help keep the pond in good order? There are no fish in the pond. Many Thanks
Andy230262 - 25-Sep-12 @ 2:06 PM
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