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