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Last year a Garden Pond Survey was organised by Herp Conservation, a Black Country group who work towards the conservation of our ‘herpetofauna’ – that’s frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards to you and me. People were asked to fill in a simple form recording what creatures were found in their gardens and in particular, their ponds.
The information was to help in planning the conservation of these uncommon and rare species and would be added to other records held in regional and national databases. There was an enthusiastic response. At long last, the records have been compiled and we can now report back to all those who took part. Herp Conservation received 112 replies overall, and the news was promising. The chart below shows the results in detail.
Species Pond Garden Highest Count Average No. per Habitat
Frog 90% 79% 200 14
Toad 33% 42% 20 4
Smooth Newt 42% 22% 95 7
Palmated Newt 9% 2% 30 3
Great-crested Newt 7% 2% 30 3
Grass snake - 5% 4 2
Slow Warm - 5% 2 1
The survey discovered that some of the amphibians listed are competing well against goldfish, our most popular pond fish. One person recorded 100 goldfish in one pond! Only 33% of the ponds surveyed did not find any fish at all, and frogs were found in 90% of the ponds. This suggests that frogs are coping well with the large amount of fish in our ponds.
A few facts that are not shown in the chart are also interesting:
  • Dragonflies were found to be breeding in 38% of ponds, and were present in 53% of the gardens.
  • Bats were found in 50% of gardens (including one colony).
  • Nineteen of the forms indicated that they had no pond, yet they still had amphibians using their garden. This just shows that we can make our gardens important to wildlife without making big changes.
  • Frogs are most likely to colonise a new pond and 26% of the survey participants had introduced frogspawn.
  • Toads are the least likely to colonise a pond, mainly because they are loyal to their birth ponds, but also due to the fact that most ponds were too small.
  • Toads are more likely to use gardens than newts according to the survey. However, newts are a lot harder to see and more secretive than toads and this has to be taken into account.
This survey is evidence of how important our garden ponds are to the country’s wild residents, and shows that the creation of such habitats should be encouraged extensively.
There will be another survey carried out in five years time, so that Herp Conservation can monitor the changes, if there are any.
Thank you to everyone who took part in the survey.