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Identification and survey hints

Our native amphibians are relatively easy to identify, and most recognisable among them must be the common frog. Frogs are the easiest amphibians to find in spring when they return to ponds to breed in late February/early March. Mating is accompanied by lots of croaking and splashing around and this is followed by the arrival of frogspawn which is easy to spot and unlikely to be confused with anything else.

Three newt species are native to the UK – the smooth, palmate and great crested newt. Perhaps the best known is the great crested newt. This is the largest of the three, growing to 15cm long, but it is rarely found in garden ponds. Smooth newts are widespread in Greater Manchester and Merseyside, whereas palmate newts tend to dominate in north Lancashire. Smooth and palmate newts are a similar size and, although they can appear similar to the untrained eye, the males are very different if you know what to look for.

Toads are less often found in garden ponds than frogs or newts as they prefer much larger water bodies, but nevertheless they can sometimes be found there. Toads normally arrive in the pond several weeks later than frogs, often in mid to late March, but unlike frogs, toads lay spawn strings, wrapped around underwater plants.

What's In Your Pond Survey Leaflet

For further information, please download our Garden Pond Survey and Amphibian Identification Leaflet here:

High Resolution pdf 4mb

Low Resolution pdf 726k

You can download a Word version of the Survey Form here:

Survey Form (Word Doc) 33k









What's In Your Pond?