Common frogs are common, widespread and easily recognisable amphibians. They have smooth, moist skin and long stripy legs. Common frogs are usually olive-green, although their colouration can be variable (from brown, yellow, cream or black, to pink, red, or lime-green). They have a dark patch (‘mask’) around the eye and eardrum, and often have other irregular black blotches over their body and limbs. They have large golden eyes with oval horizontal pupils.
Frogs hop and jump rather than walk or crawl, and they are most active at night. They hibernate during the winter in pond mud or under piles of rotting leaves, logs or stones.
Outside the breeding season, frogs are largely terrestrial and can be found in meadows, gardens and woodland. Breeding takes place in ponds, lakes, canals, and even wet grassland or puddles! Spawning usually occurs in January in the milder areas of the UK, but not until March to April in the North or upland areas. Mating pairs and masses of clumpy frogspawn can often be seen in waterbodies during this time. The eggs hatch into tadpoles within two to three weeks.
What they eat
Adult frogs eat snails, slugs, worms, insects and other invertebrates caught using their long sticky tongue. Young tadpoles feed on algae, but become carnivorous as they mature.
Where and when to see them
Frogs can be spotted in ponds, lakes, canals, meadows, woodlands and gardens most commonly between February and October.
Look for frogspawn just below the surface of the water. Frogs lay a mass of jelly-like eggs whereas toadspawn is produced in long strings.