The results from the RSPB’s 2018 wildlife survey, conducted as part of the Big Garden Birdwatch, reveal that sightings of garden amphibians are becoming rarer.
Frogs were reported in over three-quarters of gardens across the UK – but despite being the most common non-bird garden visitor, seen at least monthly in nearly 40% of gardens, this was 17% fewer regular sightings than in 2014, the last time frogs were surveyed, when they were observed monthly in 46% of gardens. The pattern was similar for toads, which were seen in 20% of gardens on a monthly basis, down from 28% in 2014.
RSPB Conservation Scientist Dr Daniel Hayhow says, “Most people remember seeing tadpoles at the local pond, or a toad emerging from under a rock, while they were growing up – these first experiences with nature stay with us forever.
“There are lots of simple things we can all do in our outdoor spaces to make them perfect for wildlife. Frogs and toads are amphibious creatures, meaning that they need a source of water close to their homes to survive. Creating a small pond in your garden, or a pool using a washing-up bowl, is so simple to do and could make all the difference.”
One positive note was a small increase in the number of recorded sightings of hedgehogs. Despite the UK population suffering widespread declines in recent decades, 65% of survey respondents had spotted one in their gardens over the past year.