I suppose I may as well tell you the truth up front. I am horrible with a garden pond. I don’t quite get how to keep them going, how to keep them clean, or how to keep the inhabitants alive. I suppose what I really want is some kind of ecosystem that will just provide for itself. However, as time goes by, we are coming to realize that garden ponds don’t just provide for themselves in this way. If you’ve been keeping tabs, you know that we have had a run of bad events in our little pond. We have learned several valuable lessons.
- koi need more oxygen than goldfish and mosquito minnows (see this post)
- goldfish are susceptible to an electrical current in the water (see this post)
- and finally, frogs hibernate in the bottom of ponds. They can freeze anyway. (see post below)
Yesterday was a hard day for us here at BrightHaven. James and I cycled through several arguments and I made a sad discovery in our garden pond. I was outside, taking some product photos for The Home Gnome, when I spotted what I hoped was one of our decorative frogs. This frog was lying upside down in our pond. Let me just state right here that it is true, if your frog is upside down, you’re not going to be happy.
I fished out our very large and loyal Southern Spotted Leopard frog. This frog has been an inhabitant of our yard for quite a while now (well over a year, I believe). I have been quite ignorant of frogs and did not realize that they hibernate in the bottom of ponds through the winter. Well, with this awful cold (10 straight nights of temps in the 20s), our garden pond froze over. We ran the pump for a bit but really did not do anything else. I assumed that the fish would be fine under the ice. Well, maybe the fish were fine, I’m not sure about that. I can tell you for sure that my leopard frog is not fine. I spent several hours yesterday trying my best to resurrect him. I’ve always been a believer in healing and have never once not prayed for one of my pets to come back to life (I’m serious!)
With the frog, I was hoping that he was merely very cold and that a slow warming would solve the problem. I brought him into the kitchen and settled him into a nice pan of warm water. I thought he might be coming to but no such luck. James buried him for me but not very deep (per my request) just in case he should come out of hibernation and need to dig out!
I did quite a bit of research on frogs hibernating and have sound some things you might find useful if you have frogs in your garden.
- frogs hibernate in the bottom of ponds. Simple enough.
- body temperature drops very low. very small need for oxygen
- eyes are drawn into head to protect them. film develops over eyes as an added layer of protection
- frogs hibernate in a spread-eagle style. their four limbs are spread in a way that gives them better traction so they will not be jostled about on the pond floor while they are hibernating.
- if your frog is lying on its back, belly up, it is no longer hibernating. I saw this information on each site I visited and hoped it was not true.
At this point, I am still quite upset about the frog’s demise. We’re hoping that another leopard frog comes to live with us in the spring. This time, we’ll be ready for him.