Catch that frog!
19 March 2007 09:29
|Builder Dean Fox with a pair of the mating frogs he helped to rescue.
Builders used their hard hats and buckets to save hundreds of frogs from dying after the animals began mating on top of a former pond at a school.
Workmen found themselves scurrying around trying to catch the hopping trespassers and get them to safety after they descended on their traditional mating ground at Lynn Grove High School in Gorleston.
And as a result of their conservation efforts, more than 300 frogs have swapped a patch of sand for a giant pond at a popular beauty spot – Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden near South Walsham.
The high school is undergoing a £1.5m extension and the team of workmen had filled the pond in two months ago to make way for a new building for Year Seven students.
Dean Fox, 46, a builder with H Smith & Sons in Dereham Road, said there had been no fish or creatures in the water when they arrived to carry out the work and the frogs had been in hibernation. But when the mating season began, they re-emerged and returned to their old habitat to lay frogspawn.
“We have a policy to protect wildlife as much as possible,” he said. “Because frogs are creature of habit they always go back and leave their frog spawn at the same place” he said.
“Suddenly last week hundreds of frogs congregated on the sand on top of the old pond and were sitting on top of each other. They were everywhere, in the sand, inside the machines – it was the biggest influx of frogs you have ever seen.
|The frogs were released at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden.
“We couldn’t start the machinery because the frogs were underneath.”
Mr Fox said the adult frogs would have died if they had not intervened.
“We discovered Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden when we were doing a job nearby, and decided that it would be the ideal place for them,” he said.
“We took them down there and tipped them in to the pond. The frogs were too busy mating and having a great time.”
Children from the nearby Fairhaven Primary School in South Walsham have enjoyed the spectacle of the frogs and helped release them into the giant water pool.
A school spokeswoman said: “We encourage our children to get involved in the community and Fairhaven Garden Trust is quite a large part of it.”
Frogs are characterised by their bulging eyes, webbed feet and slimy skin
There are around 5,000 species of tailless amphibians called frogs or toads
In folklore, frogs are portrayed as ugly and clumsy with hidden talents. In the fairytale The Frog Prince, a frog turns into a handsome prince once kissed.
Frogs live half their lives in water and can drink and breathe through their skin
Once frogs reach maturity they go to a pond or stream to breed and lay their eggs
When frogs mate the make frog clasps the female underneath in an embrace that can last several days
The eggs hatch into tadpoles and they later undergo metamorphosis into frogs
Frogs are the best leapers on the planet and can launch themselves over 20 times their own body length
The largest frog is one foot long and the smallest is less than 1cm