Nature at our doorsteps: A busy time for Frogs

By Rosaleen Dwyer

Rosaleen Dwyer is the County Heritage Officer at South Dublin County Council – every week she gives us an insight into the natural heritage around us and the beautiful biodiversity of the plants and creatures

Frogs are one of the creatures in Ireland that normally hibernate over winter. 

In autumn, they bury down into the mud at the bottom of a pond or they find a safe place on land to hide under logs, stones, or even under the compost heap.

March is a busy time for frog spawning compressor

March is a busy time for frog spawning

They emerge in springtime, with a strong drive to find a mate and to spawn the next generation. 

The main Frog breeding period is between February and March, but if the winter is mild, they can begin as early as January. 

Frogs can breed when they are between 2 or 3 years old. 

They normally return to the very same pond where they themselves were spawned and on arrival, males attract females by croaking loudly.   

Egg fertilisation occurs in the water.  As the female is laying her eggs, the male fertilises them directly as they emerge. 

Frog breeding ponds should not be disturbed compressor

Frog breeding ponds should not be disturbed

To ensure that he alone fertilises his partner’s eggs, a male will cling on to the female’s back to exclude other males from the spawning area.   

Tadpoles emerge and develop over the next few months, with young adults ready to leave the pond by June or July.

Frogs are an important link in the ecological food chain. 

They eat many slugs and flies, while they themselves are eaten by otters, foxes and herons.

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