| Fact File
- Adults grow to around 9cm long.
- Usually some shade of green or brown though colouration
is variable (yellow, pink, red, lime-green, cream,
individuals have irregular dark blotches on the back
and a dark ‘mask’ behind the eye; the legs are
- They're widespread and common but are thought to
- Common frogs are protected by law from trade/sale.
Photos: Sivi Sivanesan/Froglife (spawn); Sue North
(tadpole & frog head); Sam Taylor/Froglife
The common frog is easily our most
recognisable amphibian. They’re found throughout Britain and
Ireland, in almost any habitat where suitable breeding ponds are
near by. Common frogs have smooth skin and long legs for jumping
away quickly. Garden ponds are extremely important for common
frogs, particularly in urban areas.
Adult frogs emerge from their overwintering sites in
early spring and head straight to a pond to breed; frogs
reach breeding age at 2-3 years old. Males have a single
vocal sac under the chin and may ‘piggy back’ to the
pond on a female.
Clumps of spawn (eggs) are laid in ponds anytime from January (in
south-west England) onwards. Depending on local weather
conditions, two to four weeks later tadpoles will hatch
out. As they grow the tadpoles become faintly speckled
with gold/brown, which distinguishes them from common
toad tadpoles which are black; they feed on algae and
water fleas. After around 16 weeks the tadpoles start to
grow back legs, followed by front legs. When they have
fully absorbed their tails they leave the water as tiny
froglets, usually in early summer but sometimes as late
In early summer, but sometimes as late as September,
when tadpoles they have fully absorbed their tails, they
leave the water as tiny froglets. Adult frogs may be
seen around ponds or in damp areas of the garden as they
attempt to cool off in the hot weather. Summer is also
the time when frog disease ranavirus is active.
|Adults and tiny new froglets spend autumn preparing for hibernation.
They feed on insects, slugs and worms. If the weather
stays warm then ranavirus outbreaks may continue into
|Common frogs spend the winter sheltering under
rocks, in compost heaps or at the bottom of ponds. They
don’t hibernate as such, and may take advantage of
milder patches of weather to come out and forage
Degradation of habitats and the introduction of disease.
Frequently asked questions about
frogs and toads.
Check out our
frog gallery on Facebook.