Reddish Vale Country Park
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Reddish Vale Country Park
Adult Common Frogs have a body length of 6 to 9 centimetres and their backs and flanks vary in colour, with olive green grey-brown, brown, olive-brown, grey, yellowish or rufous possible. However, Common Frogs are known to be able to lighten and darken their skin in order to match their surroundings. It is also not unknown for more unusual colouration- both black and red individuals have been found in Scotland, and male Common Frogs have been known to turn greyish blue in the mating season. Additionally, albino Common Frogs have been found with yellow skin and red eyes. Their average weight is 22.7g . Females are usually slightly larger than males.
Males are distinguishable from females due to hard swellings (called nuptial pads) on their first finger. These are used for gripping females during mating. Also, during the mating season, males' throats often turn white. A final differentiation can be the colour- during the mating season, males are generally light and greyish in colour, whereas the female is browner, or even red.
The mating season is short, just a week in March after which the frogs move back to their terrestrial habitat.
Adult Common Frogs will feed on any invertebrate of a suitable size, although they do not feed at all during the breeding season.Favourites foods include insects (especially flies), snails, slugs and worms. The frogs catch their prey on their long, sticky tongues. Their feeding habits change significantly throughout their lives; whereas older frogs will feed only on land, younger frogs will also feed in the water. Tadpoles are mostly herbivores, feeding on algae, detritus and some plants, although they will also eat other animals in small amounts.
In the British Isles, common frogs typically hibernate from late October to January. They will re-emerge as early as February if conditions are favourable, and migrate to bodies of water such as garden ponds to spawn. Where conditions are harsher, such as in the Alps, they emerge as late as early June. Common frogs hibernate in running waters, muddy burrows, or in layers of decaying leaves and mud at the bottom of ponds. The oxygen uptake through the skin suffices to sustain the needs of the cold and motionless frogs during hibernation
Common frogs breed in shallow, still, fresh water such as ponds, with breeding commencing in March. The adults congregate in the ponds, where the males compete for females. The courtship ritual involves croaking, and a successful male grasps the female under the forelegs. During the mating season the males can be recognised by a darkened swelling, the nuptial pad on their 'thumbs'. The actual spawning takes place at night but the courtship rituals are also at daytime. The females, which are generally larger than the males, lay between 1,000 & 2,000 eggs which float in large clusters.
Common Frogs are susceptible to a number of diseases, including Ranavirus and the parasitic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis which has been implicated in extinctions of amphibian species around the world. Loss of habitat and the effect of these diseases has caused the decline of populations across Europe in recent years. It is thought that the spread of the Chytridiomycota fungus has been facilitated by the effects of global warming. The common frog is listed as a species of Least Concern on the IUCN Redlist of Threatened Species.
Tadpoles are eaten by fish, beetles, dragonfly larvae and birds. Adult frogs have many predators including birds of prey, crows, gulls, ducks, terns, herons, pine martens, stoats, weasels, polecats, badgers and otters.
Some frogs are killed, but rarely eaten, by domestic cats, and large numbers are killed on the roads by motor vehicles.
Lifespan, 7-8 years,
Weight, average 22.7g,
Diet, During the breeding season they do not eat at all, but when active will eat any moving invertebrate such as flies, insects, snails, slugs and worms.