Guest Author - Sheri Ann Richerson
When planning a pond it is important to consider what you will choose to raise in your pond as well as what types of wildlife will come to your pond for food, water or shelter. Frogs are just one of the many possible visitors that may come to your pond. Frogs, which lay their eggs in water, are declining rapidly because of environmental threats such as pollution, destruction of wetlands and other habitats, non-native species introduction, and increased ultraviolet radiation.
Frogs need both aquatic and terrestrial habitats to survive. In the winter months, many tadpoles which have turned into frogs die. Frogs can freeze when a pond they are in freezes. It is important to put a pond de-icer into your pond and if possible keep the water moving so gas exchange can occur. Frogs also tend to bury themselves in the leaves, dirt and debris that has collected on the bottom of the pond so it is important to leave some of this in place if you clean your pond in the fall. If your pond is new and you want to provide a place for frogs to over winter, add some clean sand to the bottom of your pond. It is also a good idea to provide places for frogs to hide from predators the same way you would for fish.
During the winter months if you look at a frog its color will match the decaying leaves, will not respond to stimulation and it may look dead even though it is still alive. It is best to not remove or disturb any frog during this time unless they are floating upside down or fungus is growing on the frog.
Once you have set up your pond and noticed that some frogs have taken up residence, there is one more thing you can do to make a difference, get involved! Programs such as Frogwatch USA need volunteers. The process is simple and you will be helping scientists conserve amphibians. Simply go to the Frogwatch USA page, http://www.nwf.org/frogwatchUSA/ and sign up. You will be given a packet of information about frogs and how to document the frogs that come to your pond. Once you have this documentation you will be asked to report it. You will find links to sites that show photos of frogs that live in your area. There are also links that help you identify frogs by sound.
If your pond is already set up, there is a good chance that you already have amphibians living there. If not, when you do create your pond, donít forget the frogs!