We're lucky to have a garden pond in which frogs breed, but less lucky in that cats also visit the garden. Frogs caught by the cats aren't eaten, or rarely even killed outright - just maimed and left to die. The injured animals can take several days to die, unless put out of their misery first.
So far this year, cats have left three frogs dying, and there is still no spawn in the pond. In the worst year for killings the total was seventeen, but we don't see nearly that many frogs at all now.
Owners, remember that the birds and other wild creatures which your pet may bring home dead or dying represent only a small proportion of the total cull. The more cats around, the less wildlife: simple as that.
Are you sure it’s cats Simon? I’ve seen young foxes having a go at chewing toads in my garden, promptly throwing up and leaving mutilated corpses for me to clear up
Of course we can't prove that it's cats every time, but the scratches on the frogs' bodies could realistically only have been caused by cats.
Foxes usually eat what they kill, and the young foxes are probably learning the hard way that toads are toxic and inedible.
Frogs can be killed or injured by many other animals, such as foxes, rats, hedgehogs and herons (of which there are a fair few in the area). I suspect you'll find that cats are not the only culprits, if at all.
As a species that is used to high predation, frogs have evolved to lay thousands of eggs each year - and, in fact, if this predation didn't occur not only would we be overrun with frogs but the frogs themselves would suffer with overpopulation!
Interestingly enough, that last link mentions that frog numbers have be in decline for a number of years now, and their environment - both in and around the pond - can play a big factor, as well as air pollution in general.
Sharon, you are right that only a few tadpoles ever grow to be full adult frogs. As to predators, foxes no doubt take some, rats are fortunately not common locally. herons won't come into small back gardens, and hedgehogs are locally extinct.
Adult frogs only live a couple of years at most, so there has to be a fresh generation every year if they are to survive. But of the fourteen or so frogs that have come to our pond to breed this year, seven have already been left dead or dying, and there is still no spawn in the pond. As in past years, the frogs are all found mauled and gashed but never even partly eaten, as a wild predator might leave them.
So whatever is killing them (a) has sharp claws (b) can climb over garden fences with ease (c) must have access to regular supplies of more appealing food than frogs (d) likes to roam around at night. How could anything other than cats be responsible?
Five years ago we still had up to fifty frogs in the pond at this time of year. At the present rate, though, they will soon have gone the way of the hedgehogs.
If anyone is still following this sad story, our toll of frogs killed has now risen to ten. This morning's victims were a pair still locked in 'amplexus', the position in which the male grips the female before spawning occurs.
Sorry, I haven't read the whole thread properly, but are you sure there isn't some kind of poison that has contaminated the pond? My neighbour has a pond and he once said that some kids threw mercury batteries in the pond and all his fish died. I have to say that my cat likes to bring frogs into our kitchen, but he somehow never kills them. He just puts them in his water bowl and then I put them back out.
Anton - no, the pond isn't poisoned. If frogspawn appears in it, tadpoles will hatch and grow into froglets in good numbers. Also, I don't know of any poison that could somehow produce bites, scratches and other lacerations on amphibians' bodies.
Maybe try to put a camera on the back of your garden and see who is responsible for the killings? So at least you can prove once and for all that cats are evil creatures... :-)
Which street do you leave in by the way? I have to tell my cat never to come that way.
We're in Cavendish Road. Many cats pass through the garden, using it as a latrine, but that's something we've got used to. Foxes have become rarer locally than they were a few years ago.
As to photography, I don't really care which cat or cats are killing the frogs, just want it to stop. Toll as of today is now thirteen. Really I should go out and finish them off with the garden trowel every morning, as they are rarely found dead, but it's a dispiriting way to start the day. So increasingly I've been taking the easy way out, and just leaving them to die of their injuries. Then they can be buried in batches.