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Species native to the United Kingdom
Introduced or alien species
Alien species that present a threat to wildlife

Common Frog - Rana temporaria - Native



Tailless amphibian - Smooth skin

Tends to jump not walk

Horizontal ovoid pupil

Dorsal surface and flanks, Very variable in colour, typically yellowish brown, brown but may be olive green coloured and some individuals have a reddish or yellow appearance. Variably spotted or striped.

Ventral surface, Males, dirty white or pale yellow, speckled with grey or brown; females pale yellow to orange

The most consistent markings are the dark patch behind the eye and the strong barring on the hind limbs.

Length: 6 - 9 cm

Common Frog identification features
Original Image © Alan Hyde


Some variation in belly colouration between the sexes, as mentioned. Males are generally smaller than females.

Breeding and Spawn

Emerging from hibernation in late February spawning usually takes place in early March. Though occasionally the frogs will emerge sooner and spawn as early as January.

The females are ready to spawn immediately after hibernation and the animals enter into amplexus very soon after arriving at their breeding ponds.

The spawn is laid in clumps and typically consists of 300 - 400 gelatinous eggs containing black embryos with a white spot.

The very young tadpoles are black but soon become speckled brown in colouration making them distinguishable from the permanently black tadpoles of the Common Toad.

Common Frog - spawn
© 2003 Gemma Jane Fairchild RAUK

Spawn of the Common Frog, Blackheath London, 12th March 2003

What else could it be?

Common Frogs often breed in the same water as the Common Toad (Bufo bufo) and may be confused with them. At 8 to 13cm (3 - 5in) the toad is larger than the frog (6 - 9cm, 2.5 - 3.5in) which prefers to hop whereas the toad generally walks. The toad has a rounder snout than frogs when viewed from above and on close inspection, the warty skin of the toad identifies it from frogs. Toads also lack the distinctive dark patch behind the eye.

Common Frog
© Alan Hyde

Where will I see a Common Frog?

Our most familiar native amphibian and a regular garden visitor, you may encounter the Common Frog from late February to early October. They often breed in garden ponds between February and March. Frogs are most likely to be seen during the breeding season, though sub adults may frequent garden ponds throughout the summer months. Adult frogs will range far from their breeding ponds and may be found almost anywhere at this time, from open fields to the more expected damp areas close to standing water.

Common Frog face
© Tony Phelps Reptile Research & Imagery

A Common Frog

Please do not be tempted to transfer the spawn of Common Frogs to garden ponds. There is a risk that in doing so you may spread the disease redleg, that is currently afflicting this species in the UK. Frogs will very quickly find and use your garden pond of their own accord, if conditions are favourable to them.

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