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8 March 2011, 09:58
Gardeners across Dorset are reporting large quantities of spawn in their ponds this spring, with even the smallest ponds filling with clouds of eggs overnight.
In response to worries that ponds cannot cope with so much spring life, Dorset Wildlife Trust is urging people to let nature find its own balance and not to move the spawn.
Sarah Williams, rivers and wetlands conservation officer at Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “There is no such thing as too much frog spawn for a pond. It is natural for many eggs, tadpoles and even froglets to die before adulthood.
“The huge quantities of spawn are nature's way of making sure enough frogs do make it past all the predators and other dangers that lurk in our gardens.
“Your garden will not be overrun with frogs, so there is no need to remove spawn.”
Only around one in 50 eggs will become a froglet, with pond predators such as fish, dragonfly larvae and newts to contend with. And those that do then face a wide range of garden predators such as grass snakes, blackbirds, crows, magpies, hedgehogs, foxes and badgers.
Dorset Wildlife Trust advises against transferring frog spawn between ponds as this can spread diseases and invasive plants. Sarah added: “If you do feel there is too much spawn in your pond, then you should compost it in your garden rather than give it to a friend or release into the wild.
“If you have a new pond, amphibians will come naturally as long as there are no fish and there is plenty of vegetation around to provide cover and foraging habitat.”
Dorset Wildlife Trust said garden ponds were increasingly important for the survival of frogs, toads and newts, and pointed out that digging a garden pond was one of the best ways to help wildlife in your back yard.