April 26

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April 26, 2020

Ever since I was young, frogs have been a part of my life. My fondest memories would be going for hikes and catching the biggest frogs I could find. Now that I’m a bit older you would think I would have grown out of that phase. I still hunt for these elusive extraordinary creatures, but now in a different way.

How to Bring Frogs to Your Backyard Pond

Frog in the backyard waterfall

You know the old saying from the movie Field of Dreams… “build it and they will come”. Well that statement is more true than you could imagine. If you create a habitat, the frogs will show up on their own. There are other ways to get them to your pond, but the natural way is the best way, plus if they show up on their own, then they will probably stick around for the season.

You can always get some lage tadpoles at your local pond outlet or pet store. The only issue with this is, once the tadpoles change into frogs, they may go elsewhere. I guess this is a chance you will have to take if you don’t want to rely on mother nature to provide these visitors.

There is no more distinct sound than the chirp from the spring peepers. A sign that winter has come to an end and it’s time to open up our backyards and water gardens once again.

Frog Life Cycle

Frogs come to life in late February or early March at which time they begin looking for a mate. After mating has occurred the fertilized eggs are laid in large bunches around plants and shallow waters. After  an incubation period of about 40 days the tadpoles emerge.

A frog lays hundreds of eggs, many of the tadpoles won't make it past the tadpole stage. Often becoming food. The tadpoles feed on algae and other vegetation as they grow and get bigger. Some of this nourishment is stored in their tails. 

Frog eggs underwater

As tadpoles go through their metamorphosis and mature into young frogs, their tail shrinks and they begin to develop lungs. This will eventually allow them to venture out on land. As their tail shrinks, the soon to be frogs use the nutrients stored in their tails as food, until they are large enough to begin feasting on insects.

tadpole

Frogs mature at around 4 years of age. At this point they are ready to find a mate and the cycle continues.

green frogs mating in water

Benefits of frogs in your pond

Some of the more obvious benefits to having frogs in your backyard pond is for insect control. Frogs will feast on mosquitoes and other insects helping you keep those pests at bay. 

Frogs in your pond are also an integral part of the food chain. While tadpoles feed on algae, and prevent large blooms, they also serve as food for fish, birds and other reptiles. 

green frog
green frog jumping
frog jumping 2

A frog has permeable skin which means liquids and gases can pass through it easily. Frogs can absorb oxygen and water through their skin. This also means they can absorb harmful chemicals, bacteria or toxins easily as well. 

This makes frogs extremely sensitive to their environments. They are a good barometer to the health of your pond. Your frog population is a good indicator of how healthy your backyard pond is.

A frog is beneficial to your pond in all its stages of life. As tadpoles, they munch on algae keeping algae blooms to a minimum. Also becoming a food source for other predators like fish and birds.

After maturing into frogs, they put a dent in the insect population and help reduce pests like ants and mosquitoes. Once again, part of the food chain by providing food for snakes, birds and fish.

Frog Diseases

One of the most common diseases that plague frogs is red led syndrome. This can be observed by a reddening of the underbelly. As you can see from the picture this condition is almost always fatal. 

frog with red leg disease

There are two schools of thought as to what causes red leg syndrome. One is from the bacterium Aeromonas hydrophila (link to more on that). Another cause for the reddening of the underbelly and legs is from a fungus known as the chytrid fungus.

Chytrid fungus feeds off keratin, one of the main substances a frog's skin is made of. It is unclear exactly how the fungus kills its host. 

Mating and the songs they sing

Frogs emerge from their hibernation in late February to early March. This is when mating occurs for most frog species. The frog's “love songs” can be heard all around once spring has begun.

frog at the pond

Humane Ways to get rid of frogs in your pond

This may be a difficult thing to do. Your water garden may be irresistible to our web footed friends. Frogs are drawn to the sound of running water. Understand that if you build it, they will come. 

One way to keep frogs and toads out of your pond may be to place a barrier of salt around the perimeter of your pond. If you do this however be sure that when it rains, the runoff does not wash the salt into your pond. 

Another solution is to use a vinegar and water mix and spay where frogs are usually found. Both of these solutions are humane. They merely cause the frogs discomfort and nudge them to find another place to hang out. 

Conclusion

We look to frogs for answers. There is no question these wonderful creatures are an integral part of a healthy backyard ecosystem. From their unmistakable sounds, to their interesting behaviors, frogs add that little something special to your water garden pond. What can you do to attract frogs to your pond? Until next time enjoy your backyard water garden.

~Jeff

About the author

Jeff

I love being outdoors and hands on DIY. If you share my passion, you are in the right place. If I can help one person surprise themselves with the success of a project, then this website is a success.

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  1. Hi Jeff,

    I have been enjoying your videos. You do great work. I especially like that you are detailed but explain things in a straight forward manner.

    I have a pond with a waterfall and stream. I back onto a hillside woodland that is town-owned. I have organic overload in my pond due to a 50’ft

    walnut tree who’s canopy overhangs my pond. The tree is also infested this year with Gypsy moth caterpillars. Their poop and the leaves are

    falling into my pond. I can’t keep up. I really need to build a bog garden filter. That is how I found you on YouTube.

    Your flagstone patio with tight spacing has inspired me. I did a patio for my MOM years ago using her existing patio stones and interlocking stone

    to keep the cost down so I know the pain of levelling. We put 4 cu yds of screening through her townhouse using buckets and the kids’ wagon. It

    hasn’t moved in 20 years. I used water from the hose to compact the screenings as well as a tamp.

    When it comes to frogs I’m the same as you. I caught frogs as a kid, with my own kids and now with the Grandkids.

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. I’m a 65-year-old handy WOMAN, not your typical follower. I’ll probably check out the rest of your

    videos.

    Rose

    1. Thank you for the kind words Rose. It’s always great to hear from others that share my passion for ponds and backyard DIY projects. Sounds like quite a feat to bucket in that much screen through the house. I guess where there is a will there is a way. Like I have said before, the best nation in the world is determi-“nation”.

      I hope you find a solution to your walnut tree problem. Sounds like you are on the right path building a bog filter. Set it up and let mother nature take over. Best of luck to you.

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