Wildlife watch Cold weather is de­lay­ing frogspawn

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Scot­tish Wildlife Trust Falls of Clyde Wildlife Re­serve Ranger Laura Pre­ston would like to tell read­ers about frogs and frogspawn

There have been a lot of en­quiries about frogspawn re­cently, with peo­ple say­ing they haven’t seen any this year, and won­der­ing whether the frogs may be lay­ing later be­cause of the cold weather.

Frogspawn is gen­er­ally laid from Jan­uary through to March, and will take be­tween one and three weeks to hatch.

I saw frogspawn on the re­serve back at the be­gin­ning of March, but un­for­tu­nately with the cold weather we had, the pond froze over and the frogspawn per­ished.

Frogspawn can usu­ally cope with a bit of cold weather. If a pond freezes, of­ten the top layer of spawn clos­est to the sur­face will freeze, but be­low the sur­face it will sur­vive.

How­ever, if it is re­ally cold the wa­ter will be frozen for longer, de­priv­ing the frogspawn of much needed oxy­gen.

What can be dif­fi­cult for frogs (and other wildlife) is when we have ‘ran­dom’ cold weather events that seem to come out of nowhere.

One week it may be quite warm and the next week it could be be­low freez­ing.

This is dif­fer­ent from con­tin­u­ous cold spells of weather, which the frogs can take into ac­count and then de­cide to lay spawn later.

It is tempt­ing to want to move spawn into a larger pond and/or deeper pond or wa­ter body – how­ever, it is re­ally im­por­tant not to move spawn or tad­poles.

Mov­ing them can spread non-na­tive plant species and am­phib­ian dis­eases.

Ponds that al­ready have spawn may not be able to sup­port an in­creased pop­u­la­tion.

Also, if a pond doesn’t al­ready have spawn then it is un­likely that it would be suit­able for frogs – if it was suit­able, then it would al­ready have some.

A com­mon ex­pla­na­tion of why a pond may not have frogs is be­cause it might have newts in­stead!

If you would like to find out more about frogs and other am­phib­ians, the Froglife web­site (www. froglife.org) is ex­cel­lent, and they of­ten run free train­ing cour­ses.

Cold snap Frogs are find­ing it dif­fi­cult to breed this year due to ran­dom pe­ri­ods of cold weather (Pic by Linda PITKIN2020VISION)

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