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Thread: Are Hibernaculums Neccessary for Frogs/Toads or is there an easier smaller alt?

  1. #1
    pinksky is offline Germinator
    Join Date
    Oct 2018

    Default Are Hibernaculums Neccessary for Frogs/Toads or is there an easier smaller alt?

    I've got a very small pond that I have had for the past 7 years in my flower bed (sunken in plastic storage box of 45l and replaced this year as it had leaked) that a resident frog/s have spawned since. This summer though due to the heatwave, I didn't see any frogs (or maybe they were hiding in the nooks and crannies in the shaded part of the garden, maybe?) All the pond plants have died and I have replenished the water and bought new elodea for it, but it's very sparse though in the sense there is no cover/protection from potential predators for the frogs should they return to the pond. What shall I do about this, short of buying new plants (made enquiries at a GC but they're not in stock till Spring now)? I've also cleared up the flower bed and most of the garden, but there is a shaded part by the back gate that I can use to make an alt. hidey area for hibernation. I've seen the frog a couple of times but not in the pond.

    Whilst researching this online, I've come across a hibernation home for frogs called a hibernaculum

    Our native amphibians (including species
    of newts, frogs and toads) are important
    predators, eating a wide variety of pest
    insects and are also important prey for
    other species. Habitat loss has had an
    extremely detrimental affect on amphibian
    Hibernacula are underground chambers that amphibians and reptiles
    use through winter to protect them from the cold. You can help to
    create hibernacula from piles of rubble, rock, logs and earth banks
    (with plenty of mammal burrows and ground fissures) which all make
    good hibernation and refuge sites.
    Amphibians require humidity and an artificial hibernacula should
    ideally be located near to water, but in sheltered habitat (e.g. in long
    grass or woodland edge vegetation).
    To build the hibernacula, create a mound containing a mixture of
    topsoil, rubble, and rough cut logs. Dimensions of the hibernacula
    should generally be above 2m length x 1m width x 1m height.
    Lay bricks, stones, paving
    slabs or large pieces of
    concrete over the mound
    which will create gaps and
    allow amphibians to access
    the centre of the mound. Athin
    layer of soil and brash, can be
    layed over the top of this, as
    long as it does not block the
    hibernacula access points.
    how to build a hibernacula
    ¶key tips:
    how to maintain your hibernacula

    Hibernaculas must be free-draining.
    Hibernaculas should be located in sheltered areas which are
    neither too dry nor prone to winter flooding or freezing (eg in frost

    Encourage growth of vegetation on the north side of the mound to
    provide extra shelter.
    To maintain the hibernacula, prevent vegetation from encroaching onto
    the south facing side of the mound. Periodic thinning of vegetation on the
    hibernacula will help prevent a thick root matt developing, which makes it
    hard for reptiles and insects to burrow into the surface. Sparse
    vegetation cover on the south facing side of the hibernacula will also give
    the animals a suitable location to bask.

    I don't really have the space for this, so I'm wondering if a smaller version can be created either on my concrete path or with a tub on its side. Do you this is okay as an alt.?

    PS. Over the years, I've never had any problems with returning frogs, so they must find a way of hibernating elsewhere in the garden. I don't think they use the pond as it'll be too cold for them as it's rather deep. (I place a tennis ball to stop it freezing properly)

  2. #2
    1Bee's Avatar
    1Bee is offline Early Fruiter
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    NW Cumbria


    Honestly I'd just try a few piles of leaves, logs, some terracotta pots on their sides.... anything that creates a sheltered, damp environment. Toads generally hibernate in drier spaces (still damp) and frogs need more moisture.

  3. #3
    burnie is offline Veggie gardener
    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    I have a pile of rocks in the corner of the garden Toads seem to like it.
    1Bee likes this.

  4. #4
    Jungle Jane's Avatar
    Jungle Jane is offline Early Fruiter
    Join Date
    Feb 2015


    There’s this link using a grow bag with old compost as a base in a trench,covered with leaves & shrub prunings that looks quite cosy -

  5. #5
    Mr Bones's Avatar
    Mr Bones is offline Early Fruiter
    Join Date
    Jun 2012


    I made one on the lotty and keep adding to it

    Are Hibernaculums Neccessary for Frogs/Toads or is there an easier smaller alt?-img_4564.jpg

    Are Hibernaculums Neccessary for Frogs/Toads or is there an easier smaller alt?-img_4712.jpg
    Nicos, farendwoman, bario1 and 1 others like this.

  6. #6
    pinksky is offline Germinator
    Join Date
    Oct 2018


    Thanks for your replies everyone. I think I'll just stick to my original idea of getting a pile of leaves bunched together with branches and clay pots. Not sure whether to keep it frost-free by finding a cover for it or not as this is going to be a very small 'home' (approx. 60cm x 40cm) for the frogs.
    Mr Bones likes this.

  7. #7
    bario1's Avatar
    bario1 is online now Work in progress...
    Join Date
    Feb 2013


    I just started building a hibernaculum this weekend.

    Are Hibernaculums Neccessary for Frogs/Toads or is there an easier smaller alt?-26cf7a46-2a71-43d7-b68c-c9ceee981a0e.jpg

    Still need to cover it over with soil. Might jiggle it a bit to make more ‘caverns’ under there first. The terracotta pipe will be the entrance.
    Nicos, Mr Bones and Jungle Jane like this.

  8. #8
    mrbadexample's Avatar
    mrbadexample is offline Cropper
    Join Date
    Apr 2011


    Quote Originally Posted by pinksky View Post
    ...and bought new elodea for it
    Is that elodea crispa?
    Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
    By singing-'Oh how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade,
    While better men than we go out and start their working lives
    At grubbing weeds from gravel paths with broken dinner-knives. ~ Rudyard Kipling

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