Written by Ellia Cobb, Transforming Lives Trainee.
It’s almost springtime again! Reptiles and amphibians will be getting ready to come out of their brumation and begin their breeding season, so what can you do to help them? If you have a wildlife pond at home it is important to finish up any pond maintenance you might want to do before the weather starts to warm up. Disturbing breeding and egg-laying amphibians can be very harmful, so ensuring good pond maintenance is essential.
Preparing your wildlife pond for spring is a simple task as they don’t require much work. Cutting back reed and grass from the pond if it is too overgrown to allow more sunlight in can hugely benefit the pond, but remember to leave enough for the breeding amphibians! Another thing you can do is remove leaf litter and sediment build up from the pond to prevent a decrease in the water quality, but this should be done before spring. Anything that is removed should be left by the pond for a few days just in case any wildlife remains inside of it, this gives them time to make their way back to the water (please see our Just Add Water guide for further tips).
The changing weather can be quite confusing for amphibians so it isn’t uncommon for them to start breeding earlier than expected, so don’t be alarmed if you spot any spawn or eggs quite early on. You do not need to move or disturb them. Newts need vegetation to lay their eggs and toads and frogs need a safe place to lay their spawn away from predators, so providing native pond plants and safe places for them to hide before spring starts is the best idea.
As for reptiles bramble, compost heaps, log piles, gorse and wooded areas are all places they may choose to breed in. This means that any garden maintenance shouldn’t be done during this time to prevent disturbance and endangerment.
You can find further information on how to make your gardens more wildlife friendly in our Idea Zone.