Give frogs and toads a helping hand

Simple tasks can help the common frog.                                         Photo: Richard Bowler.
Simple tasks can help the common frog. Photo: Richard Bowler.

RSPB Scotland is calling on people to help frogs and toads by creating more ponds and pools in their outdoor space.

Results from the RSPB’s wildlife survey, which is part of the Big Garden Birdwatch, show that frogs had been seen in more than 60 per cent of gardens across Scotland.

They were seen at least monthly in over a quarter of gardens. However, these regular sightings have fallen by five percent since the last time they were surveyed in 2014.

This pattern was similar for toads who were seen in 17 per cent of our outdoor spaces on a monthly basis, down from 25 per cent four years ago. Only half of those who took part reported seeing a toad in their garden in the last year, a fall of seven per cent. The survey included results from more than 10,300 gardens across Scotland.

At a quick glance a nature novice may not be able to spot the difference between a frog and a toad. A frog’s skin is smooth and moist and they have a pointed nose, whilst a toad’s skin is warty and dry and their noses are rounded – almost semi-circular in shape.

James Silvey, RSPB Scotland’s Species and Habitats officer said: “Many of us may have childhood memories of watching tadpoles swimming about in ponds or spotting toads hidden away under rocks – early encounters with nature often stay with us for a lifetime. Sadly, such experiences are becoming less common with children spending less time outdoors.

“As frog and toads are amphibians they need a nearby source of water close to their homes to survive. It’s very easy to give them a helping hand by creating a small pond, or using a washing up bowl to make a pool away from sunlight and well covered with plants.

“These simple tasks to help them can have a positive impact on a whole range of garden wildlife too.”

To learn more about the Challenge, visit www.rspb.org.uk/wildchallenge.