Common Frog – Rana Temporaria

The Common Frog, Rana temporaria is a familiar sight to most of us in the UK. It’s always nice to come across familiar as well as esoteric species on a nature blog, so I thought I’d include this little chap here among the lichen and fungi which dominate the winter wildlife blog.

The Common Frog tends to be more dormant during the winter months (and is usually more active at night than during the day), but they do not hibernate as such, and this handsome fellow was looking quite sprightly when we came across him while working nearby. Incredibly, at the northern extent of their range in Europe, they can survive nine months of the year under a thick layer of ice!

People sometimes confuse the Common Frog and Common Toad (Bufo bufo). The Common Frog can be easily distinguished by its longer legs and ability to hop and jump, and by its smooth, moist skin. Their spawn can also be easily identified, with frogspawn being laid in large clumps and toadspawn in long strings.

They can be found almost anywhere with water and vegetation, often in large numbers. The adults feed on insects, slugs and snails, while younger tadpoles feed exclusively on algae.


Although it’s a sight most of us take for granted, I still find the transformation from tadpole to adult frog absolutely fascinating, and seeing tiny little froglets hopping through the grass is one of the highlights of summer days in the garden for me… another reason to be looking forward to summer!

Speaking of which, putting a small pond in your garden is probably the best thing you can do to improve it for wildlife. Even an old washing up bowl dug into the ground will attract all sorts of wildlife, and you’ll be amazed how quickly it attracts aquatic insects and plants. A small pile of sticks and leaves also provides a perfect sheltering spot for frogs, and a luxury hotel for all sorts of creepy crawlies.

Thanks to fellow Countryside Warden Dan Hooper for the pics!

By Chris Eyles, Senior Warden for Exmoor

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