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Nature lovers.

Byline: ALAN WRIGHT, Lancashire Wildlife Trust

LOVE is in the air in the natural world - hares are boxing, ducks are chasing around our lakes and birds are singing out for mates in daylight hours.

And frogs and toads are at it too. How do I know? Well, all our budding wildlife photographers are sending me pictures and videos proving it.

All this nookie is great news as we all want our creatures to flourish. Frogs and toads have always been popular, as we can follow their lifestyles as frogspawn becomes tadpoles then froglets and then frogs. For those of you with ponds, the common frog is a regular visitor and you can start looking out for frog spawn about now.

The frogs will have hibernated in your pond or the logs around it.

Frogs are great for your garden, with slugs and snails and other 'pests' being part of their diet.

They will wander out from ponds into gardens and woodland to look for food.

They can live up to 10 years and vary in colour quite a lot. Expect to see green, brown or even red and yellow frogs.

Frogs have smooth skin, with a dark mask behind the eyes and long black legs with dark bands.

Common frogs are amphibians, breeding in ponds during the spring and spending much of the rest of the year feeding in woodland, gardens, hedgerows and tussocky grassland.

Toads will have been fairly visible recently as they headed back to breeding ponds during the spring migration.

Many don't make it, being run over by motorists.

This is probably why their average age is a lot shorter than frogs, about four years.

Over winter they will have been hiding under stones and logs and, over the past 15 years, we have often found toads under our stone piles in our garden.

Again, the toad is good at eating garden pests. They breed in deeper ponds than frogs but can be common in gardens.

Toads tend to be a lot more beefy than frogs with short back legs, brown, warty skin and coppercoloured eyes.

Frogs lay their eggs in clumps but toads' are in two rows, in strings of aquatic plants. A female frog can lay up to 4,000 eggs in one spring.

Fourteen weeks later, when the tadpoles arrive, the black ones are toads and the brown, the stripey ones are frogs. We then get froglets and toadlets, both cute.

? The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside is dedicated to the protection and promotion of the wildlife in Lancashire, seven boroughs of Greater Manchester and four of Merseyside, all lying north of the River Mersey. It manages around 40 nature reserves and 20 Local Nature Reserves covering acres of woodland, wetland, upland and meadow. The Trust has 29,000 members, and over 1,200 volunteers.

. ? To become a member of the Trust go to the website at www.lancswt.org.uk or call 01772 324129. For more information about Cheshire Wildlife Trust call 01948 820728 or go to cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk.

CAPTION(S):

A knot of frogs MARTIN JUMP

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Publication:Manchester Evening News (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Date:Apr 25, 2019
Words:518
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