Frogspawn - Me n the dogs
We are asked lots of questions about wildlife, but some crop up regularly. Here are some of the queries that we are asked most frequently.
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust does not have a wildlife rescue service. If you find a sick or injured animal, please contact one of the following organisations for advice.
Local wildlife rescue centres
Hedgehog and Garden Bird Rescue (Cannock)
Tel: 01922 414694 or 07769 279257 or 07790 189360
RSPCA Wildlife Hospital (Nantwich)
Tel: 08704 427102
Amerton Wildlife Rescue (Stafford)
Tel: 01889 271308
Gentleshaw Birds of Prey and Wildlife Centre (Eccleshall)
Tel: 01785 850379
Westport Wildlife Rescue (Stoke-on-Trent)
Tel: 01782 811722
West Midlands Hedgehog Rescue
Tel: 01922 419532 or 07837409533
Here is some further information on specific species:
Hedgehogs - If you find a young hedgehog in September which has definitely been orphaned keep it in a high sided-box somewhere warm indoors and feed it on minced meat, liver, meat-based dog or cat food and scrambled egg (not milk, as more than a little can be harmful). Call your local wildlife rescue centre (numbers below) or the British Hedgehog Preservation Society as soon as possible on 01584 890 801 for further advice.
Bats - If a bat is found on the ground, on an outside wall, or in an exposed area it may be unwell or injured and will be vulnerable. You should call the Bat Helpline 0845 1300 228 for further advice and to be put in touch with a local volunteer bat carer. You should avoid handling the bat, but if it is necessary, always wear gloves to avoid being bitten, due to the small risk of a rabies type virus rarely carried by British Bats. Please contain the bat in a box or similar, well secured (bats can get out through small spaces!) with adequate air holes. The box can be lined with paper towel and a small dish-such as a milk bottle lid – with water soaked tissue in it can be provided for the bat to drink from. Care needs to be taken not to allow this dish to soak the whole box as this will be detrimental to the bat.
Only a bat that has been confirmed as fit and healthy by a bat carer should be released, and never during the day. Please don't assume the bat is healthy and leave it outside to fly away.
I've found a baby bird that has fallen from its nest - what shall I do?
It is normal for fledglings (feathered young birds) to spend a day or two on the ground as their flight feathers grow fully. The parents are likely to be around nearby keeping an eye on their offspring or temporarily absent looking for food. The best thing to do is leave the young bird where it is - it is unlikely it will have been abandoned.
If the bird is in danger, for example near a road, pick it up and move it a short distance to a safer place, so the parents will still be able to find it. If it is in danger from a domestic pet, such as a cat, keep the pet indoors until the fledgling is airborne.
If the young bird is unfeathered, or covered in down, it may have fallen from the nest by accident. If it appears strong and healthy, you can return it to the nest. If it is not healthy or is injured, it may have been ejected from the nest by its parents. In this case, it is best to contact a wildlife rescue centre (see the list of numbers above).
Check out our butterfly gardening factsheet and bumblebee gardening factsheet for a list of the best plants to grow.
Sometimes ponds can seem overcrowded with clumps of spawn, or heaving masses of tadpoles. Don’t worry! This is completely natural. It’s the frogs’ way of coping with the fact that large numbers of tadpoles and young frogs die. A female may produce 2,000 eggs (female toads tend to produce about 1,000) and of these only four or five are likely to make it to old age, which in frog terms is probably about four years old. The rest will make up an important part of the diet of a wide range of wildlife including herons, fish, beetle larvae and blackbirds. This high death rate is distressing but totally natural, and it means that you will not be knee-deep in frogs when they all develop.
Do not take spawn to another pond or remove it to the wild. Doing so will only create a vacant niche which may encourage more spawning. Besides, moving frogs to new ponds risks spreading an unpleasant frog disease, red leg, which is now afflicting our frog population. The best thing is to leave the spawn where it is and let nature take its course.
Send full detials and a high quality photo to Staffordshire Ecological Record which is based here at the Trust - we may be able to help. However, we get lots of requests so it may take a while - please be patient.
Another option is to join the I Spot community which is run by the Open University. It's a website where, once you have signed up, you can upload your image and someone will get back to you with their thoughts on what it is.