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Pond advice needed

Hello all - bit of info required please. I have a garden pond which I dug out and lined myself using a lining sheet with an old piece of carpet laid below it to prevent any tearing. I did this last autumn. I have also placed a couple of largish twigs (small branches really) as an escape route for amphibians and small mammals.

So far so good - this year I had a few dozen tadpoles in the pond which were quite well advanced - rear legs starting to show signs of development. I also had two newts in the pond, one of which was brown and showed no interest in the tadpoles whilst the other was almost black and seemed to find the smaller tads a tasty meal. Then I went away for a week and came back to find no sign of any newts or tadpoles in the pond. There was however a much, much, larger frog in residence.

Now to my question. Are adult frogs as cannibalistic as tadpoles? Would you have thought that in the space of the week I was away the tadpoles had advanced to the point of leaving the pond, or would the adult frog have devoured them? I also seem to recall another thread on here mentioning that fish will also eat frogspawn. Is this true of all fish, or would it be safe to introduce 3 and 10 spine sticklebacks?

Thanks in advance.



  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,059

    Sounds like you're off to a good start.~
    Don't worry too much about things coming and going - it's a wildlife pond, and wildlife will do what wildlife does. Some of it is not very nice, but doesn't mean it's not natural.
    You've provided the environment, the wildlife will will be very grateful.
    Just enjoy it.

    I wouldn't put sticklebacks in there - as far as I remember, they live in streams and need moving water - and they are aggressive bu**ers..
    Just let nature do its stuff.

    Last edited: 23 June 2016 12:20:16

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Thanks for your prompt response Pete8. Further to my OP, I have just this minute noticed a male blackbird  perched on one of the branches. Could he be the culprit would you think?

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,059

    More than likely - he probably thinks they are swimming worms image

    I remember years ago during a very wet summer the tiny froglets hopping across the grass as they left my pond, and the birds were having a feast.
    Not good for the frogs, but good for the baby blackbirds - that's nature..

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • If newts are around then it is a good chance that the Tadpoles are in hiding.

    I found that Newts lowered the tadpole population significantly but that the remaining tadpoles could have competed in several Olympic events. Quality is probably better than quantity.

    In my experience birds tend to go for the tadpoles while they are still eggs and then only if the eggs have been laid in an area where birds can get to them easily.

    Last edited: 23 June 2016 13:32:19

  • Yesterday I mowed the lawn, no biggie i guess, except that before I do I wander round the lawn with a bucket and collected 30 odd frogs all about 1cm long.
    Before releasing them i armed them all with stun grenades and pepper spray, so I'm hoping for a better return than that this year image

  • Forester_PeteForester_Pete DevonPosts: 142

    I am always disappointed in not getting any floglets. I have newts, dragonfly larvae and blackbirds, so am assuming they all get eaten.

  • OnopordumOnopordum Posts: 390

    I don't think adult common frogs feed underwater at all. They'd happily eat smaller frogs/froglets once they'd emerged, but the froglets disperse at this point anyway. As the other posters have said though there are a great many predators of frogs at all life stages, especially the tadpoles/froglets. I think that's the main reason why frogs generally spawn in very shallow/temporary ponds - they run the risk of the pond drying up too soon, but the temporary ponds lack large numbers of newts, dragonfly & diving beetle larvae etc. so the tadpoles don't face too many predators.

    I'd leave out the sticklebacks - they do live well in ponds but breed to high numbers and eat large numbers of pond invertebrates and amphibian larvae. Fish-free ponds are generally more interesting.

  • Paul - yep, I do much the same (collecting 'em up that is, not arming them for the next world war) before I cut the grass. On the last occasion I found just the one - about thumbnail size - which I put into the greenery close to the pond.

    Onopordum - thanks for the advice re the sticklebacks. Perhaps I had better think again!

  • Janie13Janie13 Posts: 5

    I have had a wildlife pond for about 10 years now. I cleaned it out last year, a heck of a job, so much mud! My pond has newts, frogs, damselflies and a pair of great diving beetles and their voracious offspring. I bought two tanks and remove a lot of the frog spawn every year. I feed the tadpoles on boiled soft lettuce leaves making sure the depth of water is greatly reduced as they grow and provide areas for the newly formed froglets to hop onto. They can easily drown at this stage. I then release them at the end of my pond. I have released 300 to 400 some years. I started doing this as I love watching them develop and change. However, they either don't survive or they find another pond to breed as I do not seem to add to my frog population...... 

    No frogs spawn this year, probably due to the clean out last year? Newts leave the pond for the summer. I love having a pond!

    Newts, GD beetles, birds, other frogs will all eat tadpoles and froglets. As has been said, very few survive. Hope you enjoy your pond over the years.

  • Carol147Carol147 Posts: 9

    I have two plastic barrel ponds as well as 4 other ponds, I put my toad tadpoles in one barrel and frog tadpoles in another, masses of them make it to froglet/toadlets each year. The other ponds are full of frogs,newts, and loads of other wildlife.  Both lots of tadpoles love fish flakes 

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