Posted by: Ross Gardner | April 11, 2020

Marsh Frogs

When I first heard Marsh Frogs (Rana ridibunda) croaking from the water ditches and dykes near where I live, I at first wondered whether some enormously rare rail or similarly secretive, marsh-dwelling bird had taken up residence – there are not many birds I hear around my local haunts whose voices I don’t recognise.  That a frog was producing the loud, bird-like croak was, I recall, an amusing surprise.  I heard them today, communicating en masse, a noise audible some hundreds of metres distant.

They haven’t always been here.  A widespread species across much of continental Europe, they were first introduced to the UK in the 1930s, onto marshland in the south of Kent and it wasn’t until 1990 that they were introduced into my part of Essex.  They have since spread through pretty much every ditch, dyke and pond among the grazing marshes that comprise a portion of Hadleigh Country Park.

So often introduced species spell bad news for native wildlife.  It seems that the case for the Marsh Frog might be different.  The native Common Frog (Rana temporaria) has never occured at this site, something that also seems the case further afield, where other populations have similarly made use of habitat where Common Frogs have been historically absent.  It could be that the Marsh Frogs are simply occupying a vacant ecological niche within the landscapes that they find themselves in, thriving in habitat that is less that optimal for the Common Frogs.  Certainly, I wouldn’t imagine the local Grass Snake population will be complaining any time soon at such an abundant provision of prey.

Marsh Frog 7 (scaled)

Marsh Frog (Rana ridibunda)


  1. Back in the early 80s my dad did a lot of research so we could find the Marsh frogs on Romney Marsh in Kent. We thought we might catch one, but they were pretty fast compared with the Common frog! It is amazing to see how far they have spread now. Especially to my home county of Essex. All that research and driving and now they are 15 minutes down the road from my parents house. Special memories, though. Nice post!

  2. Thanks David. Glad you liked it. Cant’ say I’ve ever tried to catch one, but I’ve noticed they do have quite a leap on them which must make them quite a challenge to catch.

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