Frogs and toads in decline as ponds fall out of favour

frog sitting on a log in a pond

In addition to providing an attractive feature for your outside space, a garden pond is incredibly important for wildlife. But fewer gardens feature ponds these days and the inevitable consequence has been a decline in the number of frogs and toads in Britain.

frog sitting on a log in a pond

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

Every year, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) asks householders to record the wildlife they see in their gardens during the Big Garden Birdwatch. The reports that the public provide enable the charity to assess the populations of the various species and to establish which are threatened. This year, the survey revealed a significant drop in the number of frogs and toads which were sighted in gardens.

Frogs are the most commonly-seen wild animal in gardens other than birds. But the number of sightings in the 174,000 gardens which were involved in the Big Garden Birdwatch this year, were significantly lower than in 2014, the last time frogs were included in the survey. There was an even greater drop in the number of toads seen.

Why are their fewer garden ponds?

Housebuilders no longer tend to include ponds in the gardens they create for new homes and fewer home owners are building ponds in their gardens. There are a variety of reasons why ponds have become less popular. Busy lives mean that many people believe that they don’t have the time to maintain a pond. The water can represent a danger to small children and ornamental ponds with fountains can increase energy bills.

But ponds provide vital habitats for wildlife. Areas of water are becoming increasingly isolated as the natural stopover points provided by garden ponds are disappearing. Those of a certain age will remember collecting frog spawn as a youngster but spawn and tadpoles are an increasingly rare sight.

Why you should create a pond in your garden

A garden pond doesn’t have to be an extravagant or expensive feature with fountains and waterfalls. A simple pond or even something as small as a washing up bowl of water could make all the difference to the wildlife in your area. You don’t need to be an expert to maintain the pond and you might find that you really enjoy the feature and wish to create a more permanent or significant pond for your garden.

A pond doesn’t have to cost the earth and could help to save the native wildlife which is currently in decline. You never know, you might even move on to build a koi pond and why not? Once you have discovered an interest in watching and caring for wildlife, this could evolve into a love of more exotic species.

Garden ponds are fabulous features for any garden which can be inexpensive to build, low-maintenance and made safe for youngsters. If you have a small area of garden that you could develop, do think about creating a pond. The frogs and toads need your help and fishkeeping could become your new passion.

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