Archive of posts with the category 'Amphibians and Reptiles'

First frog spawn of 2010

Yesterday I was really pleased to see a clump of frog spawn in the pond. The appearance of frog spawn is slightly earlier than last year (18th March) and later than both of the previous years (3rd March and 23rd February). Sorry for the arty photo 🙂 This morning I was even more pleased to see two more clumps of spawn. This is the most we’ve ever had in the pond. One big difference this... Read on

Pond tidy up

I spent some time clearing up the pond this weekend. The pond was getting a bit overgrown (as seen on the pond timeline). It was fairly chilly work but it’s the best time to clear out the excess weed from the pond as the animals and plants haven’t really got going yet. As a result the effect of removing the weed has the lowest impact on other things. Despite the cold weather, and it being... Read on

D,E,F – Damselfly, Eft and flowers

Whilst working on stage 2 of the testudarium today I had plenty of time to look out for interesting things in the garden. The first things I spotted was the first damselfly of the year. This is a Large Red damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula), it was probably a female and had only recently emerged from the pond as it was rather reluctant to fly (which meant photographing it wasn’t too tricky): Whilst clearing a bit of... Read on

Shelled-slug blows bubbles

Whilst building the Testudarium I found one of my favourite slugs, Testacella maugei. This is one of the shelled-slugs (you can see the shell in the picture) and they are carnivores preying on earthworms and other slugs. I moved the slug out of harm’s way but it then blew a large quantity of mucous bubbles at me – which seemed worthy of a photograph: I also found this fantastic slow worm (Anguis fragilis) which I... Read on

First frog spawn of 2009

Having posted on Sunday about the lack of frog spawn I was really pleased to see a clump of frog spawn in the pond this evening. The appearance of frog spawn is later than last year (23rd February) and the previous year (3rd March) – I don’t care how late it is though, I’m always really pleased to see it in the pond. A clump of frog spawn in our pond (March 2009) Read on

First newt of 2009

Today I saw my first smooth newt (Triturus vulgaris) of 2009 in the pond. In factIi saw at least three separate newts. This is earlier than the first sighting last year. I also saw several water measurers (Hydrometra stagnorum) around the pond margins. Unfortunately we’ve not got any frog spawn in the pond this year (yet). I was hoping that the lack of spawn was due to the cold weather during February and the frogs... Read on

Frogs and newts in the flowerbed

I decided to clear out some of the dead plants in the flowerbed closest to the house today. In the process of tidying up the flowerbed I found a juvenile frog and then also found an adult newt and three young newts. Adult smooth newt (Triturus vulgaris) One of the things I noticed was the very different colouration of the adult newt when compared to the breeding colours they adopt in the pond. Three young... Read on

Tadpole update 6 – final froglets numbers

We released our first froglet on the 5th May and over the last few weeks we’ve been releasing froglets on a daily basis. Sometimes we’ve released froglets in the morning and the evening as they’ve been developing so quickly. I’ve also been keeping a record of the number of froglets we’ve released and the grand total was 172 froglets! Read on

Tadpole update 5

This evening we released our first froglet. The spawn came from our pond on the the 23rd February so it’s taken 73 days for the first frog to go from spawn to froglet. Here is the first froglet to be released into the wild: …and here’s the froglet sculling across the pond after release: Read on

Slow worms full of the joys of spring

When I lifted the old carpet off our compost heap today I found this fantastic pair of slow worms (Anguis fragilis). The lower of the two definitely looks quite fat and a bit lumpy to me so I suspect it’s a female and she’s pregnant. Slow worms carry their young within their bodies and the young are born live covered by a thin membrane which they quickly break open. We’ve had young slow worms in... Read on

Tadpole update 4 – the move onto land

After spotting the first tadpoles with front legs yesterday, I decided to put some wood into the tank this evening so they could climb out of the water if they wanted. It turns out that they were pretty keen… no sooner had I put the wood in than this little fellow hopped out onto it: Once his tail has started to shrink we’ll release the froglet into the pond. Read on

Tadpole update 3

When I got up this morning I discovered that some of the common frog tadpoles (Rana temporaria) in the tank have now got front legs as well as back legs. If I remember my biology properly I think the front legs develop inside pouches down the side of the tadpole and then pop out. The back legs develop externally and so their progress is more gradual. Read on

Tadpole update 2

Exciting news, the tadpoles in the tank have started developing their back legs. Some of the largest tadpoles are now about 4cm in length and, either side of the base of their tail, we can now see their back legs. It won’t be long before I have to start thinking about putting something into the tank that they can climb out on to. The tadpoles in the pond are, as you’d expect, some way behind... Read on

Tadpole update 1

On the 23rd of February we found a large clump of frog (Rana temporaria) spawn in our pond. Last year many of the tadpoles were eaten by our newts so I thought I’d bring in a small piece of the spawn this year and rear it through. The spawn has been in a fish tank in our kitchen since the end of February. The remaining spawn in the pond has now hatched and the tadpoles... Read on

First adult frog!

Today is a very special day for me, it’s the first time that I’ve seen an adult frog (Rana temporaria) in our garden. We know they must visit as we’ve had frog spawn for the last two years. However, in four years, we’ve not actually seen an adult frog in the garden…. until today. I was doing a bit of weeding in the flower bed closest to the house when I spotted this handsome individual:... Read on

First frog spawn of 2008

Few events can herald the arrival of spring like the appearance of frog spawn. Our pond received its first clump of wild frog spawn last year but we’ve yet to see any adult frogs (Rana temporaria) in our garden despite being in our house for almost four years. It’s not through lack of looking either. However, see them or not, adult frogs obviously do visit our garden as, within the last 24hrs, we’ve had a... Read on

Newts and bugs

Despite the cold weather there are still a few cold-bloodied creatures that are active in the garden. Whilst tidying up around the edge of the pond today I found a young smooth newt (Triturus vulgaris). I’m not sure if they’re called Efts after they’ve left the pond but this newt was only 3cm long so will definitely have been one of this year’s brood. I’ve also been noticing a few other young newts remaining within... Read on

Hatchling slow worm

Today I found this hatchling slow worm (Anguis fragilis) on our patio. It can’t be very old because it’s less than 100mm in length, it’s strong evidence that the adult slow worms we see in the garden are breeding. Young slow worms develop inside the female and when they are born they are enclosed in a thin membrane. They quickly break free from the membrane and are fully mobile. The edge of my lens cap... Read on

First wild frog spawn

Today was a very exciting day. Our pond is only about 21 months old and today we noticed our very first clump of wild frog spawn in it. The spawn is from the common frog (Rana temporaria) but, other than some donated frog spawn we had last year, we’ve never seen a frog in our garden. True to form, the parents of this spawn were nowhere to be seen. It’s interesting to note that frogs... Read on