Get involved in the PondNet Spawn Survey 2023

16th December 2022

Freshwater Habitats Trust is inviting people across the UK to get involved in the PondNet Spawn Survey 2023.

The national wildlife conservation charity has been collecting data on sightings of breeding frogs and toads since 2012. Each year since then, people across the country have taken part by recording spawn they have spotted in their garden or community ponds, or in the countryside.

Anyone can upload their PondNet Spawn Survey data, adding a grid reference, the nearest postcode or using the What3Words app, on the Freshwater Habitats Trust website. Freshwater Habitats Trust is also encouraging people to share photographs of frog and toad spawn they have spotted on social media, using the hashtag #SpawnSurvey

Last year, the first Spawn Survey sighting was recorded in Tywardreath in South East Cornwall in early February. However, sightings can be even earlier, so Freshwater Habitats Trust is running the survey from January to May this year.

Freshwater Habitats Trust Director of Policy and Research Naomi Ewald said: “Frog or toad spawn is one of the first signs of spring so it can be very exciting to spot it early in the year. Whether it’s something you look for in your garden pond or while out enjoying a walk in the countryside, people of all ages enjoy spotting frog and toad spawn.

“Frogs and toads are amphibians and live on land for much of the year, but they rely on having access to ponds and other waterbodies to breed. Projects like the PondNet Spawn Survey are helping us to understand more about how frogs and toads use a range of different types of waterbodies to breed.

“We always get a great response to our PondNet Spawn Survey and can’t wait to see the first 2023 records coming in this Spring!”

Spawn facts

  • Amphibians live on land for much of the year, but return to ponds to breed in spring. This means waterbodies can become extremely crowded.
  • Frog spawn is laid in big clumps, whereas toad spawn forms long chains.
  • Toad spawn is generally laid in deeper water than frog spawn.
  • A single frog or toad will lay thousands of eggs. This is because eggs and tadpoles are very vulnerable to predators, so only a few will survive and become adults.
  • It takes between two and four weeks for spawn to hatch and tadpoles to emerge.

Close up of Common Toad's head above the water Common Toad – Barry Carter