Froggy went a courtin’ = Frog eggs for me

Frog EggsAny gardener worth their salt, which is handy against slugs, knows that you want a few frogs or toads on the property, which are also handy against slugs. One of the best ways to make sure you get an amphibian to take up residence is to get yourself a good stockpile of desired amphibian’s eggs.

So this weekend I am visiting my parent’s house. The weather was warm and balmy (because March is a tease) and my mother decided to muck out her pond. My mother’s pond is rather small but filled with sexually frenzied frogs and this quickly became evident as we filled a 5 gallon bucket with gelatinous frog eggs.

So, Missus Hanna Smarty Pants, how do you know those are frog eggs? Maybe they are toad eggs. Or maybe you have frog and toad eggs in your 5 gallon bucket all mixed up. How do you know? Telling the difference between frog and toad eggs is easy. Frog lay eggs in clumps, toads lay eggs in strings. What I have here is a big ol’ bucket of frog eggs.

Frog eggs tend to creep people out at first. When you find them, they are normally stuck to sticks or logs and have an uncanny resemblance to eating jello while having the flu gone terribly wrong. The eggs will be clear and wobbly and you can see the tadpole inside develop. Depending on the age of the eggs, they may either have large black dots in the center or tiny forming tadpoles. While the eggs may look very fragile, in fact, they are quite resilient and are easy to handle. You can simply scoop them up and move them about as you like.

Which is convenient, as my mother has more frog eggs than she knows what to do with, so we will be taking some home.

Some of these eggs will go in my own pond, while some of them I will keep in the house (and maybe even sharing some with the boys’ classrooms at school. I am sure their teachers will be thrilled). Frog eggs present an excellent opportunity to let my kids see first hand the miracle of life, from egg to adulthood.

For hatching frog eggs, you need to keep a few simple but REALLY IMPORTANT things in mind.

First, the water you put your frog eggs in cannot be tap water. Ideally, frog eggs should be kept in the water from the pond where the eggs were found. But, if that is not an option, any water from a naturally occurring source will do, such as collected rainwater or a pond or stream. Do not use tap water, ever. The chlorine in the water will kill them.

Second, eggs that you find submerged should be submerged in the tank. Eggs you find floating should be kept floating.

Third, aerating the water will improve the eggs’ chances of hatching.

So, this summer, if all goes as planed and I am a good surrogate frog mom (how hard can it be, frog moms abandon their eggs after they lay them) I should have a few slug feasting frogs in my garden.

21 thoughts on “Froggy went a courtin’ = Frog eggs for me
  1. Interesting idea! Are you close enough (geographically) to your parents that there is not a concern about bringing a non-native or non-suited species over? Or maybe that’s not a concern for you.
    Frogs are so cool.

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  2. We have a lot of toads around here, so I try to keep things nice for them. I leave a few boards laying around the gardens and they take up residence underneath them. I’m hoping to put in a small pond as well to aid in my amphibian population.

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  3. I’ve never seen frog eggs before. We have a plethora of squirrels, but I’ve yet to see a frog. What a great way to counter slugs!

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  4. Wow! That is really cool. I’ve never seen such a thing near my yard, though the sound of frogs at the lake across the street gets loud come spring time. I hope you have success with hatching those eggs.

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  5. How much fun! You say emphatically no tap water, but we live in rural Maine and our water comes from a well. Would that be okay?

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  6. Well, Miss Hanna, we live out in the country and have a creek running behind out house, our neighbor has a pond, and we always have tons of toads and a few frogs, so we don’t really need to bring any in. BUT…letting a few hatch inside sounds like fun. We’ve done many butterflies, maybe it’s time to do some frogs!

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  7. How about… frogs eggs and bacon for breakfast?!
    best regards,
    froggy (hm… frankie from France)

    BTW your mighty blog is taking ages to toad, i mean to load, lately…

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  8. Toby on

    OOO I have a stream behind my house and the frogs are already calling out. I’m prepping my yard for froggie goodness such as I had last year. Every one of my pots that had a side drain hole was inhabited by at least 3 or 4 of them! However, as always, they kept the pests down, no bugs other than butterflies and a few aphids could survive them. So, good luck with your frogs and may you have a hopping good summer!

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  9. Diana on

    The comment about native or non-suited species already posted is quite relevant. Let me add another bucket of cold water on the idea (sorry).

    These is a disease called Chytrid that is decimating frog populations around the world including within the US. Some individual frogs can be carriers (especially certain types sold in pet stores in the genus Xenopus). Carrying frogs, or eggs from one area to another is a good way to transmit this disease.

    Even if you think it’s not that long of a distance think about how far frogs and toads can travel in their lifetimes – not very! so the disease, parasites and unique genetic characteristics can vary dramatically over amazingly short distances.

    I have found that putting in a water source – a pond, water garden or rain garden – will attract local frogs and toads and provide an abundance of local frogs and toads in an amazingly short time. These water features have the added bonus of attracting birds, dragonflies and other beneficial insects. Please consider this to be a good alternative to carrying in frogs and toads from other areas.

    A wet blanket biologist.
    Diana
    Beverly, MA

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  10. Hanna on

    Lauren & Diana – Actually, I am glad you brought up the native frog issue. As far as my frogs go, my mother has Northern Leopard Frogs in her pond (well, bull frogs too, but their eggs are MUCH bigger and come later in the year). The Northern Leopard frog is native to all of Ohio, so I am not bringing a non-native species home.

    As far as the Chytrid issue… Thank you for the information. It is very interesting and worth knowing.

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  11. Very cool! We don’t have any native areas of water here in the Great American Desert, but if I ever move somewhere greener I’m happy to know that frogs eat slugs (what about those big banana slugs? Do they eat those? I’d really like to move to Washington some day. . . )

    I learned a lot from your post; fun lesson!

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  12. OK, I learned things I NEVER KNEW from your blog. Tomorrow I might want to take my kids searching for frog/toad eggs, and they will think mom so knowledgeable, (frog eggs are in a clump, honey, toad lay eggs in a line…) when in truth I have never ever seen frog eggs and wouldn’t have recogised them. We do have tons of frogs and toads that the children catch around here, check out the photos on my website.

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  13. Very interesting post, and I’m impressed with your hands-on dealing with the slug problem! I knew about the frogs and slugs, but have no pond to tempt them with…

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  14. Well, that is gross looking I must say. I am not sure I ever saw a frog in my garden, and I don’t have a clue where to find frog eggs. I’m very tempted to go look though, if they eat slugs. I’ve been using stale beer which seems to work pretty good on the slugs, but this way I wouldn’t have to dispose of their poor drunk bodies. ;)

    Anita

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  15. Siobhan Donoher on

    In Ireland its illegal to move or remove frog spawn, it dictates that it is to be left where its found. I would love frogs in my garden.

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  16. I have few koi ponds and this time of year I find gelatinous clumps of what I believe to be frogs egg masses .
    I want to move them to some shallow fish free ponds to avoid being eaten by he koi,
    Are there any precautions to avoid damage to the masses in the transfer process? .
    Depth? Temperature ?
    Any assistance or suggestions are appreciated .
    Thank you .
    Don

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  17. Help! We have a pool in our backyard and the other day a bunch of little black dots were floating on the surface. We have frogs that hide in the wood part of our house. At night they go to the pool for swimming. But I didn’t realize they would leave behind eggs. Anyways, I scooped some out of the pool and put them in a plastic container with some of the pool water in which they were found. My question is will this water harm the eggs? My two sons are excited to witness frogs coming from these eggs but now I’m thinking the eggs are no good? Please email me. Thanks. Donna

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  18. Well Hannah i like your idvice but i dont have a pond or anything so what should i do?And i also have a frog that just turned into a frog (its a little confusing!?) but i dont know what to feed them?

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