Amphibians

The Common Frog, and the smooth Newt are both found in the wetland areas of the Park.


Common Frog

Rana temporaria

Loscann

Life expectancy: Up to seven years.

Description: Frogs are amphibians which mean that they can survive both in the water and on land. They have loose moist skin ranging in colour from pale green-grey through yellow to a dark olive-brown. They have regular barred markings across their limbs and streaks in front of and behind their eyes. The colour and markings help to protect them from predators such as rats, foxes, otters, pike, crows, herons and gulls. Under water frogs breathe through their skin and the large bulging eyes on top of their heads allow them to keep a look out for food and enemies. They have four fingers, five toes and webbed feet that help them to swim away from danger. Their hind legs are very muscular and good for both swimming in water and leaping on land.

Behaviour: Common frogs spend most of their lives on land, living and hunting in damp pastures, open woodlands or other habitats with suitable cover and generally not far from a pond or stream. In winter they hibernate at the bottom of ponds (mostly males) or in frost-free refuges, such as under logs and tree stumps or in piles of dense vegetation or rocks where they become torpid until the following spring.

Reproduction: Common frogs breed early in the year usually in February or early March when adults migrate to breeding ponds. Spawning occurs in shallow water with individual females producing up to two thousand eggs. Within a fortnight or so tadpoles hatch and over the following two or three months develop in the natal pond, metamorphosing into froglets in May or June. The tadpoles feed mostly on microscopic algae or detritus on the pond floor. They are prey to a wide range of predators including water beetles, dragonfly larvae, fish and newts so survival rates from egg to froglet are typically low. During the summer the froglets disperse into the same habitats as those used by adults.

Diet: Worms, slugs, snails, spiders, flies and other insects.

Habitat: The common frog is widespread throughout Ireland and found in a variety of different habitats including lakes, ponds, turloughs, wet heath, grasslands, meadows, raised and blanket bogs, fens, woodlands, alluvial forests and dune slacks.

Conservation Status: Frogs are protected by Irish Wildlife Acts (1976 & 2000) and Annex V – Habitats Directive