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Where have all my tadpoles gone ?

(71 Posts)
tiggypiro Tue 28-Apr-15 20:13:35

Both my neighbour and I have wildlife ponds in our gardens which in the spring are seething with frogs and their spawn. This year was no different and hundreds (if not thousands) of tadpoles hatched out. All was well for a couple of weeks and then suddenly they all disappeared. We do have newts in the ponds but it would take an army of them to eat so many tadpoles so quickly. We don't use any chemicals anywhere in the gardens and there are no fish. We are perplexed as to why so many tadpoles disappeared so suddenly. Has anyone any thoughts ? Are your tadpoles OK ?

glassortwo Tue 28-Apr-15 20:15:32

Is there a Heron about tiggy

loopylou Tue 28-Apr-15 20:18:37

Blackbirds, magpies and crows love them too.
This cold snap will bump a few off. We've had a grass snake in the pond seeking a snack.
They're also highly cannibalistic sadly....
It's a mystery I've yet to resolve.

sara4 Tue 28-Apr-15 20:46:57

We only had a very small clump, there one day and gone the nest. I suspect the blackbirds. Last summer we saw up to 7 frogs in the small pond so I am rather disappointed that there was so little spawn. When we moved here 14 years ago we had lots of frog spawn, they hatched and we saw many baby frogs. My neighbour is the same and it has been like this for the past 5 years.

pompa Tue 28-Apr-15 20:51:10

No, I appear to have lost most of mine, no sign of black birds etc, which have been a problem in the past.

Liz46 Tue 28-Apr-15 21:08:24

We have thousands of tadpoles in a fairly small pond at the allotment and have been worrying about them. The surface of the water is bubbling with activity. If anyone can give us advice about helping as many as possible to survive we would be grateful. There are large stones in the pond so that they can climb out when ready.

pompa Tue 28-Apr-15 21:14:05

Net it over with a large mesh net to stop the birds eating them. Apart from that, let nature take it's course.

Liz46 Tue 28-Apr-15 21:32:50

Thanks pompa, we'll do that in the morning.

pompa Tue 28-Apr-15 21:35:48

You need to leave space somewhere for adult frogs to come and go.

Liz46 Tue 28-Apr-15 21:42:20

I was weeding round the pond a week or two ago but had to stop because I disturbed two beautiful, very tiny frogs. I was too frightened of hurting a frog so the weeds will have to stay for a while.

pompa Tue 28-Apr-15 21:48:33

Think of all the slugs the frogs will be eating, worth leaving a few weeds.

JessM Tue 28-Apr-15 22:13:09

You haven't put a fish in there have you tiggypro? Or sprayed any chemicals around?

tiggypiro Tue 28-Apr-15 22:52:40

It is interesting that sara4 and pompa have also lost their taddies. I have never seen a heron or many other birds having a snack and the cold snap came after their demise. No JessM as I said in my first post there are no fish or chemicals. It is the speed of the disappearence which is strange.
A few years ago after the first of two very hard winters I fished out 173 dead frogs from my smallish pond (6' X 4' X 2') and after the second winter 35. The population recovered quite quickly and gives an idea of our usual numbers !
One year, like Liz46, I had what I can only describe as something akin to a fish farm at feeding time with thousands of taddies in the pond. There were so many I gave them fish food which they devoured with greed. Many of those taddies made it out of the pond but I think some of them would have been among the dead I removed.

Eloethan Wed 29-Apr-15 01:42:21

We always had tadpoles in our pond and eventually saw the tiny frogs hopping around. Then one year, the frog spawn hatched out but the tadpoles just seemed to disappear. The next year, there wasn't even any frog spawn. I think it's because the pond needed cleaning out and re-planting. We've done that now so hopefully it will be OK next year.

As you say there were hundreds of tadpoles, could it be the same with your pond?

Mind you, environmental conditions are such that wildlife is reportedly being badly affected. When I visited my granddad in Suffolk as a child, I quite often saw lizards and snakes in the garden or in the country lanes. I haven't seen a lizard - or a newt - for years and it has been a long time since I've seen a toad or a hedgehog in our garden. Even sparrows aren't "common" any more.

tiggypiro Wed 29-Apr-15 08:24:58

I don't think it is the condition of the pond Eloethan. I could understand that that may have been a problem if only one pond was affected but the taddies in my neighbours much larger pond have gone too at the same time. They are both wildlife ponds and as such are left to their own devices with minimal interference.
I agree with you about the disappearence of other species too. We do have newts, dragonflies, spuggies and hedgehogs and many others but not in the quantity of times past. My neighbours garden is much bigger than mine and between us we make lots of hidey holes for things - log and stone piles, heaps of straw etc and are not fastidious about everything being neat and tidy. Even with our resident frogs we do suffer from slug damage in the veg plot so put down beer traps in which I think they die happy !

pompa Wed 29-Apr-15 09:31:13

I am not particularly worried about the loss of tadpoles, I have experienced this before and the following year all was back to normal. We have such a huge population of frogs around the garden, they will survive this blip. I'm sure that some of the tadpoles will survive and grow. I had so many survive one year that mowing the lawn was carnage, even after sweeping it.

magpie123 Thu 30-Apr-15 14:39:06 If you go on this website if says cold weather could be to blame.

All my tadpoles in my pond have now disappeared, but before they all went I got my husband to transfer a clump of spawn and tadpoles to a large container with pond water and vegetation, I originally had this outside but because of the change in the weather (night time frosts) I have put the container in the greenhouse, they all seem to be thriving.
When they develop legs I will put them back in the pond, just trying to give mother nature a helping hand.

NfkDumpling Thu 30-Apr-15 14:55:37

We had lots of spawn after the usual froggy orgy and it seemed to develop ok, but we too seem to now have a low population of tadpoles. We do have a few fish in the pond but they've not been a problem in the past as there's so much else for them to eat. I'm hoping the taddies have gone deeper into the weed to escape the cold weather.

I have noticed that most of the common pond weed which usually swamps the pond isn't growing this year as it usually does. We also had one or two frogs with what looked like grey blisters on their backs. I hope there's not a nasty disease.

magpie123 Thu 30-Apr-15 16:35:56

Hi just looked on Froglife and found this:

I’ve found a frog with grey/white bumps on the skin, what’s wrong?

Quick answer
It’s likely this frog is suffering with herpes – this does not seem to adversely affect individuals.

Further information
One of the diseases frogs can pick up is herpes. This displays as grey or white lumps/bumps on the skin, usually on the back of the animals. As far as we know this does not seem to affect the frog at all. It is usually limited to one or two individuals and has no discernable affect on their health or behaviour. If you suspect differently please let us know.

Soutra Thu 30-Apr-15 16:39:38

Be careful if kissing one-it may not turn into a prince and you could pick up a nasty infection grin

loopylou Thu 30-Apr-15 16:41:27

Maybe that's how the frog caught it? grin

magpie123 Fri 01-May-15 08:42:51

I've kissed plenty of frogs in my time and have ended up now with an absolute prince

pompa Fri 01-May-15 09:05:55

When I try to kiss a frog, they hop away pronto, are they telling me something ?

henetha Fri 01-May-15 10:12:07

Maybe they've hopped it? grin

loopylou Sat 02-May-15 19:42:43

My numerous tadpoles are disappearing rapidly, I can only assume the colder weather is hitting them hard.
Very disappointing.
Toad spawn doesn't appear to have come to anything either.