eRodent > The Garden Pond Page > April 2002.

March 2007 Operation Save Frog spawn.

OK so it's mid March and winter has been quite screwy this year. The frogs arrived very early in mid February but thankfully didn't spawn until 7th March. But because late February and early March was unusually wet the pond was very full and many of the frogs spawned right up the beach or in quite a shallow plant basket. As the water level drops the frog spawn started to get too dry. I saved a lot of the spawn on the beach by carefully pushing it down. It was on top of pebbles so it was possible to shift them downwards. You have to be very careful indeed not to push spawn off it's attachment and cause it to sink in the pond where it will be too cold and not hatch.

By the middle of March all was looking well. The indoor spawn had hatched and the stuff outside was starting to develop in the spring warmth. Then potential disaster appeared on the horizon, the met office started forecasting a sharp drop in temperature and potential snow.

Weather Map

I think I counted over 50 lots of spawn long before the frogs had finished laying. There was certainly a lot of it, which is why I hadn't been too concerned about the spawn that seemed a little high in the water. But the risk with snow and ice was that it could kill a large amount. So on the 17th March I made the decision to save some more of the spawn. The plan is to bring some in and then return the tadpoles when the weather warms up again. Rather than take individual lumps of spawn I'm going to take a small amount from several lumps to keep genetic diversity.


March 2007 - Too much spawn and too high up the beach - some was saved by moving it down

I am retrieving the spawn today and will update on the weather and how the tadpoles are doing. One of my concerns is that once you bring spawn indoors it hatches very quickly and I don't want to return the tadpoles too soon if the weather outside isn't warm enough. My usual frog spawn isn't returned until the tadpoles starts to get front legs, which is usually May, but I don't have the room to raise large numbers.

Update 17th March: I've just retrieved 5 clumps of spawn from the most badly placed clumps that stand little chance of surviving even without snow. I've put a mix of water but and pond water in one of my plastic tanks. It looks quite cloudy but is absolutely teeming with water fleas and other small pond life which at least shows the pond is healthy - it's amazing how much more life you get with a fish free pond. Normally I go for as clear water as possible and now have a nice clear tank as I'm usually taking photos. But the aim of this is simply to raise some tadpoles from spawn that would otherwise have perished and get them back into the pond as soon as possible. My indoor spawn is currently lots of little tadpoles swimming around but this has only just started to develop outside.

Spawn in Tank

Retrieved Spawn - not pretty but practical.

Update: I'm afraid I've been a bit tardy in updating this page. I've just come on 1st March 2008 to announce this year's frog spawn and realised I never finished the story. As soon as all the tadpoles were free swimming and the weather had warmed a little they were returned to the pond. We usually have lots of tadpoles that slowly disappear these days and only a few baby frogs appear - unlike the early years where we would have plagues of frogs in June. I think there is a lot of predation in the pond and the numbers of frogs have stabilized at a level just above ridiculous and presumably just below too many for the food supply.

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