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The common frog is Northern Ireland's only type of frog. Found across Britain and Ireland it can occur anywhere there are ponds to breed in. Adult common frogs can grow up to 13 cm long, have a smooth moist skin and long striped back legs, so they can hop away from danger. Common frogs are not only green. They can be yellow, orange and red to brown.
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Adult frogs return to their breeding ponds between January and March, to lay their eggs (spawn). Each female lays one clump of spawn, which can contain 2,000 eggs. Frogs lay so many eggs as out of 2000 eggs as few as 10 eggs become adults frogs. Frogs prefer warm, shallow ponds to lay their eggs.
After 2-4 weeks the tadpoles hatch. When born, tadpoles are dark brown to black, with feathery gills. They eat algae, single celled animals and scavenge dead creatures that fall in the pond. As they get older they turn a light bronze with gold speckles and start to eat insects like water fleas.
As tadpoles change into froglets (metamorphosis) their back legs grow first followed by their front legs. When their legs have grown and they lose their tails the froglets leave the pond. At this point they can no longer breathe in water, and could drown if there were no rocks or plants to climb onto. Froglets can be found in the long grass from late summer to early autumn.
Frogs hibernate over the winter from November to January, in compost heaps, leaf mulch and even under wood and rubble lying around in the garden. Some even hibernate in mud at the bottom of a pond. On warm days they might wake up and go to look for a tasty snack.