Belongs to: amphibians

Compare with: common toad

Common frog Rana temporaria


Best time to see: mid Jan to mid Oct

Key facts

The familiar frog of pond and wetland

Habitat: almost any moist place including gardens with ponds, scrub, rough grassland and freshwater wetland

Widespread across Europe and common, although numbers have suffered from the loss of many farm ponds to piped water

Recognition

Usually grey, brown, or olive with dark blotches; skin is shiny and smooth unlike a toad's; up to 10 cm but usually smaller

Usually found out of water except during the breeding season, hunting for insects, worms and slugs

Rely on camouflage for concealment but make huge hops when startled

Lifecycle

Gather from January to March to spawn, laying masses of eggs in jelly in ponds and the shallow margins of streams and lakes

Tadpoles feed on microscopic water creatures, the few survivors leaving the water from April–Sept, sometimes next spring

Adults hibernate over winter in the mud at the bottom of ponds (for their safety, ponds should be at least 60 cm deep)

  • Main photo
  • closeup
  • spawning

Photo © Pat Allen

Photo © David Corke

Photo © Ann Whalley