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

Pool Frog - Pelophylax (formerly Rana) lessonae - Native



Tailless amphibian. Slightly granular skin.

A very aquatic frog, often difficult to locate, as they will dive into water at the slightest disturbance.

The other Water Frogs found in the UK, including the non-native Pool Frog tend to be green. Our native Pool Frog is predominantly brown in colour with dark spots and a pronounced light, often yellowish, dorsal stripe. Very occasionally some green can be seen around the head.

Distinguishable from other water frogs by relatively small size. Unlike Common Frogs , calling males have prominent whitish vocal sacs at side of mouth.

Length 6 - 9 cms

UK Distribution

Now exists only in a couple of secret locations in East Anglia


Extremely endangered. The last known native Pool Frog died in 1999. However, detailed analysis of the calls and genetics established that these were the same Northern clade as were found in Sweden.

As a result a number of adults and tadpoles were re-introduced after health screening in 2005. Further re-introductions followed.

The latest evidence suggests that the animals are now well established and are breeding.

Native Pool Frog

(C) The Herpetological Conservation Trust

Breeding and Spawn

This species breeds much later than the Common Frog. The spawn appears in similar masses but the eggs tend to be much smaller.

The initially tiny tadpoles grow quickly, but, being hatched later in the season will sometimes overwinter. Like the other water frogs, the tadpoles grow considerably larger than the Common frog.

What else could it be?

It can be distinguished from the Common frog by the dorsal stripe and the vocal sacs (in males) and from the other Water frogs by its smaller size and lack of green colouration.
Native Pool Frog
(C) The Herpetological Conservation Trust
Where will I see a native Pool Frog?

As previously stated their current locations are not generally known so you are most unlikely to see one for some years.

The native Pool Frog is an endangered species and protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

It is an offence to disturb these toads in any way

Kill, harm or injure them

Cause damage to their habitat

Possess, sell or trade them in any way

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