Woodland Trust

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Frog tadpole. istockphoto.comfrog tadpoles

Rana temporaria
After about 21 days as spawn, the embryonic frog leaves its protective jelly as a tadpole, complete with organs, gills and a long tail.
Frog and toad tadpoles are very difficult to tell apart so please only record frog tadpoles where you have already recorded frog spawn.
Spawn is easy to tell apart - frog spawn is a mass of eggs; toad spawn is a string of eggs.

Download our frog tadpole fact sheet:

frog tadpole fact sheet    

Frog tadpoles. istockphoto.com Or get our fact-filled spring wildlife pack

 spring wildlife fact pack

Where found

Ponds, ditches and slow moving streams.

When to look for

  • From the end of March in sheltered spots - 
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  • They develop into fully-fledged frogs in about 11 weeks

Fabulous frog tadpole facts

  • Frogs rely on garden and countryside ponds for breeding – although in the non-breeding season they may roam up to half a kilometre from them. Males arrive at the pond first and try to attract females by load croaking. Successful males grasp females in a mating embrace and fertilise eggs as the female releases them. Each female lays between 1000 and 4000 eggs

  • There is one kind of frog that is native to the UK, the common frog, which is found in most parts of the UK. The other was the pool frog which is believed to have become extinct in the 1990s and has since been reintroduced to a site in East Anglia

  • Frogs can be identified from toads in several ways. Frogs have smoother skin, toads have warty skin. Frogs hop, toads crawl. Frogs lay their spawn in clumps, toads often do this a few weeks later and their spawn is in strings

  • Frog tadpoles grow back legs first, then front legs and are ready to leave the pond between June and September