Two years after the pond was install, and one year after I started to see frogs in the pond, this late spring I’ve had my first frogspawn. A significant milestone, for me anyway, and for the record I think I first saw it on the 10th May, which is a much later date than I would have guessed.
Now I say frogspawn although I wasn’t sure if it was frogspawn or toadspawn. It didn’t look like frogspawn, which should be in clumps across the surface of the pond. It looked much more like Toadspawn, which is laid in ribbons, wrapped around vegetation, as shown in the picture below.
Another difference is that toad tadpoles are jet black whereas frog tadpoles are brownish.
Around 15 days after the spawn appeared the tadpoles started to hatch out, there are now hundreds swimming around the pond, and they do indeed look pretty jet black. So I feel that I can conclusively say, they are toad tadpoles.
Toads like to spend most of their time out of the pond, ideally in leaf litter and log piles. Cool, damp places. Over the last couple of years I’ve built up a couple of logpiles in a very shaded area near to the pond, which are now largely covered by Ivy. I guess this is ideal toad habitat and my spawning adults are in there somewhere.
Excitingly toads are loyal to the pond and in future years will come back to spawn in the same place as adults. So now they have started I should hopefully start to see more.
But, apparently only around 1 in 50 tadpoles will actually develop in a young toad, a toadlet. The rest will get eaten by predators such as dragon fly larvae or maybe even newts, I would love to have newts!
And even those that make it to toadlet status later in the summer are going to have to run the risk of lots of other predators, typically when they try and leave the pond, and in my garden the number one predator is going to be the cats.
However hopefully a few will make it and come back in future years. The nature pond has definitely taken a step forward.