Identification

Frogs have moist smooth skin that is greenish-brown to yellow in colour, with stripy legs, and with a distinctive brown patch behind the eye. They are most likely to be confused with toads, but toads have a drier more ‘warty’ appearance caused by their bumpy skin.

Size

An adult frog could reach 9cm (3 1/2in) in length.

Distribution

Found throughout the UK.

Status

Frogs are thought to have declined in parallel with the loss of ponds in the wider countryside. However, in more recent years their numbers have risen again thanks to the rise of number of ponds in gardens. They are not currently of conservation concern. They are protected from sale by The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Habitat preference

Frogs need to be near water in order to breed, but they prefer shallow water rather than deep water.

Where to find them in the garden

As might be expected, frogs are found in garden ponds, particularly during the breeding season, beginning in February or March. But ponds are not their only habitat – frogs will shelter anywhere damp and shaded, for example under stones or logs, or even in long grass (so please be careful if strimming any areas of long grass). They hibernate in winter either at the bottom of ponds, or under logs and rocks.

Role in the garden

They feed on snails and slugs, making them popular with gardeners. They also feed on other invertebrates such as beetles, spiders, and caterpillars. They are preyed on by foxes, some birds and grass snakes. They face problems from steep-sided ponds and from amphibian diseases.