Saturday, 22 August 2015

Frogs: the pond favourite

Frogs. The simple, humble frog. Intertwined into folklore and myth,  this jumping, green amphibian is not only one of the most interesting, but also one of the most important animals in Britain.

Frogs, however, are in decline, partly due to tadpoles being the subject of many childhood experiments gone wrong, but mainly due to countryside management and garden pesticides. However, there is one more reason behind the decline of frogs-disease.

One such disease is called ranavirus, and can cause whole ponds full of frogs to die, causing much distress. Ranavirus causes the breakdown of skin, haemorrhaging and ulcers in frogs. So, what can you do about it? If you find lots of dead frogs in your garden, the best thing to do is bury, burn or bin bag the corpses, and the disease should pass through soon. Thankfully, it's unlikely to effect amphibians and fish in your pond.

However, there is another disease. Chytridiomycosis is a fungus that is found in Australia and the Americas, and, quite simply, kills adult frogs and makes the teeth of tadpoles fall out. If it reaches the UK, frog and toad numbers would plummet.

However, this is all theoretical, but there is still a threat of disease. In Britain, there is the Common frog (the only one you'll see in your garden), Moor Frog and Edible frog, used in French cuisine.

However deadly these diseases are, Common Frogs will remain one of the best known and most iconic members of the natural world in Britain.

Next time, I will be posting about the Maltese Bird Hunt, and the birds you see in your garden that survive this slaughter.

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